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From crucial issue to additional question. A study of the political debate about nuclear waste in Sweden 1976-2009; Fraan oedesfraaga till oevrig fraaga. En studie av den politiska debatten om kaernavfallet i Sverige 1976-2009

Abstract

The overall purpose of this paper is to investigate how the premises for the political decision processes in the issue of final disposal of the Swedish nuclear waste are affected by changes in the public opinion climate and global events. The paper therefore focuses on questions concerning how the national political debate leading up to decisions interacts with the media debate, and the public opinion dynamic that arises when the two debates relate to each other. Particular interest is devoted to the arguments and standpoints that occur in politics and media and how they refer to the prevailing public opinion situation and to conditions in the surrounding world of a political, legal, economic, ecological and technological nature. An analysis of the arenas and actors involved in the debates ought to provide valuable knowledge regarding how the political agenda has been formed at different points in time. The following questions are of central interest to the study: - What characterizes the parliamentary and the party political debate in the nuclear waste issue, and in what way have actors, standpoints and arguments changed over time? - What characterizes opinion formation and news reporting in the media in the nuclear waste issue and  More>>
Authors:
Nord, Lars; Stur, Elisabeth [1] 
  1. Mid Sweden University (Sweden)
Publication Date:
Nov 15, 2010
Product Type:
Technical Report
Report Number:
SKB-R-10-56
Resource Relation:
Other Information: 72 refs., 1 figs., 3 tabs.
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; UNDERGROUND DISPOSAL; PUBLIC OPINION; POLITICAL ASPECTS; SWEDEN
OSTI ID:
1008088
Research Organizations:
Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co., Stockholm (Sweden)
Country of Origin:
Sweden
Language:
Swedish
Other Identifying Numbers:
Other: ISSN 1402-3091; TRN: SE1108042
Availability:
Also available from: http://www.skb.se/upload/publications/pdf/R-10-56webb.pdf; OSTI as DE01008088
Submitting Site:
SWDN
Size:
84 p. pages
Announcement Date:
Mar 14, 2011

Citation Formats

Nord, Lars, and Stur, Elisabeth. From crucial issue to additional question. A study of the political debate about nuclear waste in Sweden 1976-2009; Fraan oedesfraaga till oevrig fraaga. En studie av den politiska debatten om kaernavfallet i Sverige 1976-2009. Sweden: N. p., 2010. Web.
Nord, Lars, & Stur, Elisabeth. From crucial issue to additional question. A study of the political debate about nuclear waste in Sweden 1976-2009; Fraan oedesfraaga till oevrig fraaga. En studie av den politiska debatten om kaernavfallet i Sverige 1976-2009. Sweden.
Nord, Lars, and Stur, Elisabeth. 2010. "From crucial issue to additional question. A study of the political debate about nuclear waste in Sweden 1976-2009; Fraan oedesfraaga till oevrig fraaga. En studie av den politiska debatten om kaernavfallet i Sverige 1976-2009." Sweden.
@misc{etde_1008088,
title = {From crucial issue to additional question. A study of the political debate about nuclear waste in Sweden 1976-2009; Fraan oedesfraaga till oevrig fraaga. En studie av den politiska debatten om kaernavfallet i Sverige 1976-2009}
author = {Nord, Lars, and Stur, Elisabeth}
abstractNote = {The overall purpose of this paper is to investigate how the premises for the political decision processes in the issue of final disposal of the Swedish nuclear waste are affected by changes in the public opinion climate and global events. The paper therefore focuses on questions concerning how the national political debate leading up to decisions interacts with the media debate, and the public opinion dynamic that arises when the two debates relate to each other. Particular interest is devoted to the arguments and standpoints that occur in politics and media and how they refer to the prevailing public opinion situation and to conditions in the surrounding world of a political, legal, economic, ecological and technological nature. An analysis of the arenas and actors involved in the debates ought to provide valuable knowledge regarding how the political agenda has been formed at different points in time. The following questions are of central interest to the study: - What characterizes the parliamentary and the party political debate in the nuclear waste issue, and in what way have actors, standpoints and arguments changed over time? - What characterizes opinion formation and news reporting in the media in the nuclear waste issue and in what way have actors, standpoints and arguments changed over time? The course of the debate at four different times and in connection with four parliamentary elections during the period 1976-2009 is analyzed in the study. The subject of the analysis includes the four parliamentary parties the Centre Party, the Liberal Party, the Moderates and the Social Democrats. These four parties have been chosen because they have been represented in the Swedish Parliament during the entire period studied and are therefore reasonable to compare. The study has mainly been conducted as a qualitative textual analysis of public print, party documents and media content. The qualitative text analysis is complemented to some extent by other existing written documentation such as political memoirs and debate books. The results of the study show that the nuclear waste issue was at the centre of the domestic political debate during the 1970s, but then gradually lost ground in political importance during the following decades. What can most accurately be described as a make-or-break political issue at the start of the studied period was by the end of the same period at most a back-burner issue that was of limited interest and had virtually been removed from the political sphere. The nuclear waste debate serves as a good illustration of the life cycle of a political issue and illustrates the circumstances under which an issue can be politicized at one stage only to be marginalized and struck from the political agenda at a later stage. This metamorphosis in importance is seldom as clear-cut as in the analysis of the change undergone by the nuclear waste issue in the Swedish public debate. For example, six times as much was written on this subject in the four leading daily newspapers during the last three weeks of the 1976 election campaign as during the 1998 election campaign. When it comes to the number of parliamentary motions pertaining to nuclear power and nuclear waste, there were less than half as many during the parliamentary year 2009/10 compared with ten years earlier. In other words, this is an issue that is gradually declining in opinion-related importance, both in politics and in media coverage. The position of nuclear waste in the Swedish political debate can generally be explained by reference to an opinion-related interaction between politics and media, where in general political actors make rational judgements and take standpoints to maximize their own influence and to win voters, keep their party together or promote cooperation with other parties. Such judgements can explain why nuclear power and its environmental consequences were such a big issue in the 1976 election (when the Centre Party wanted to politicize the issue), as well as why it was such a small issue in the 1998 election (when all political actors contributed to depoliticizing the issue). The interesting point is how the media coverage during these elections reflects the political positions and how compliantly the media's interpretations of the political positions are formed. The nuclear waste issue is characterized not only by the willingness of the parties to politicize or depoliticize during different periods, but also by the existence of other environment-related issues that compete for the attention of the parties, the media and the voters. The 1980s debate about algal blooms and mass seal deaths and the last decade's debate about the global climate threat are issues that probably influence the stand taken by public opinion-makers on the waste issue.}
place = {Sweden}
year = {2010}
month = {Nov}
}