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Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: The Politics of Scottish Government Policy on Unconventional Oil and Gas
Author(s): Timonina, Irina
Supervisor(s): Cairney, Paul
Stephan, Hannes
Keywords: public policy
policy theory
advocacy coalition framework
energy policy
unconventional gas
shale oil
shale gas
policy subsystem
policy learning
Scottish government
Scottish politics
British politics
climate change
environmental policy
Issue Date: Jan-2022
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: The UK government is responsible for UK energy policy and has signalled a firm commitment to hydraulic fracturing for shale gas as part of its energy strategy. Yet, the Scottish Government imposed an indefinite moratorium on fracking in 2017. To explain this puzzling outcome, this thesis uses the Advocacy Coalition Framework to examine the Scottish unconventional oil and gas debates and demonstrate that Scotland possesses an analytically separate fracking subsystem, with its own actors and coalitions, ‘nested’ in a UK subsystem. The study identifies key actors, their stated beliefs, and drivers of policy change. In this thesis, I combine qualitative content analysis with the case study approach to capture the dynamic unconventional oil and gas policy process in Scotland and explain this major shift. I provide an in-depth examination of the Scottish hydraulic fracturing debates between 2011 and 2019. The timespan of eight years was enough for advocacy coalitions to emerge with relatively well-formed belief systems, and for policy learning to occur. The findings showed that the Scottish hydraulic fracturing subsystem was conditioned by multiple external events and instances of policy-learning that not only influenced the Scottish Government’s final decision, but also its ability to make that decision. This study makes an original contribution to knowledge in the field of public policy by providing a longitudinal analysis of hydraulic fracturing policy development in Scotland. It also contributes to further development of the Advocacy Coalition Framework as a public policy theory by applying it in a multi-level governance context and expanding the concept of ‘nestedness’.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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