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Anti-Politics, Depoliticization, and Governance$
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Paul Fawcett, Matthew Flinders, Colin Hay, and Matthew Wood

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748977.001.0001

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Depoliticization, Meta-Governance,and Coal Seam Gas Regulationin New South Wales

Depoliticization, Meta-Governance,and Coal Seam Gas Regulationin New South Wales

(p.217) 10 Depoliticization, Meta-Governance,and Coal Seam Gas Regulationin New South Wales
Anti-Politics, Depoliticization, and Governance

Paul Fawcett

Matthew Wood

Oxford University Press

The coal seam gas industry and its future in New South Wales (Australia) is an extremely contentious policy issue that encompasses multiple policy actors and a wide variety of concerns. This chapter examines the NSW Government’s attempt to meta-govern this policy domain through storytelling. It does so by creating a link between ‘discursive’ depoliticization, statecraft, and storytelling as a strategy of meta-governance. We focus on three stories in particular—energy security, economic growth, and ‘credible science’—and argue that they have had simultaneously politicizing and depoliticizing effects. We argue that this has provided different policy actors with the opportunity to engage in ‘discursive hopping’ whereby the same story has been used to both politicize and depoliticize the issue. We argue that there is a need to ‘call out’ political actors who attempt to ‘change the subject’ of political debate by ‘hopping’ between issues in a poorly justified way.

Keywords:   meta-governance, coal seam gas, regulation, discursive depoliticization, discursive hopping, Australia, storytelling

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