Article

Shaping the Scope of Conflict in Scotland's Fracking Debate: Conflict Management and the Narrative Policy Framework

Citation

Stephan H (2020) Shaping the Scope of Conflict in Scotland's Fracking Debate: Conflict Management and the Narrative Policy Framework. Review of Policy Research, 37 (1), pp. 64-91. https://doi.org/10.1111/ropr.12365

Abstract
This study applies a narrative lens to policy actors’ discursive strategies in the Scottish debate over fracking. Based on a sample of 226 newspaper articles (2011 – 2017) and drawing on key elements of the narrative policy framework (NPF), the research examines how policy coalitions have characterized their supporters, their opponents. and the main regulator (Scottish government). It also explores how actors have sought to expand or contain the scope of conflict to favor their policy objectives. Empirically, only the government strives for conflict containment, whereas both pro- and anti-fracking groups prioritize conflict expansion through characterization contests and the diffusion and concentration of the costs/risks and benefits of fracking. In theoretical terms, the study proposes that insights from Pralle’s (2006) conflict management model, which emphasizes symmetrical strategies of conflict expansion by both coalitions, is a potential tool to revise extant NPF expectations about the different narrative strategies of winning and losing coalitions. Moreover, the fact that policy actors mostly employ negatively rather than positively framed characters in their narratives may be a valid expectation for similar policy conflicts, particularly under conditions of regulatory uncertainty.

Keywords
narrative policy framework; scope of conflict; conflict management; fracking; shale gas; Scotland

Journal
Review of Policy Research: Volume 37, Issue 1

StatusPublished
Publication date31/01/2020
Publication date online23/01/2020
Date accepted by journal24/10/2019
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/30339
ISSN1541-132X
eISSN1541-1338