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Energy and security: discourse and practice in the United States and China

Nyman, Jonna (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis conducts an in-depth empirical analysis of the way in which energy was constructed as a security issue in the United States and China between 2004 and 2012. The core argument is that energy security is contested: it means different things to different people in different contexts. State energy security discourse and practice in both states constructed energy largely as a national security issue, emphasising the need to secure the state in economic and/or strategic terms by providing secure energy supplies at stable prices. This is found to be problematic and ‘negative’, as encouraging competition over finite fuels perpetuates insecurity for states, and fails to secure human beings and the environment. Thus, it does not produce security. However, there are a number of competing marginalised energy security constructions, which forward a more ‘positive’ notion of energy security – emphasising sustainability and human welfare. By illustrating the contested nature of energy security, this thesis contributes the first in-depth critical empirical analysis of energy security constructions. It thus brings together insights from critical approaches to security with the empirical area of energy security to understand how energy security is constructed, while raising important theoretical questions about the importance of context for understanding the value of security and the potential for moving towards more ‘positive’ energy security discourse and practice.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Quinn, Andrew and Floyd, Rita and Beeson, Mark and Shepherd, Laura and Wilkinson, Cai
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Department of Political Science and International Studies
Subjects:JA Political science (General)
JK Political institutions (United States)
JQ Political institutions Asia
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4918
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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