The 'green turn' in the EU governance
The overarching goal of this project is to further our understanding the evolution of the governance framework of the ‘green turn’ by investigating its underlying power relations, the interest conflicts it triggers and the associated narratives, as it unfolds in the context of the European economy. As a major outcome, it will advance the debate on the viability of green economy as a stable productive regime, clarifying how it opens new investments horizons while meeting the overarching and long-term goal of protecting the system from social turbulences caused by environmental degradation. As secondary outcome, it will make intelligible the underway transformation process –including peoples’ reactions to it- of rural socio-economic organisation and cultures that is attached to land re-signification as an energy fund intertwining with previous functions.
The research’s heuristic process will develop through a mixed methodology based on a general context analysis and case studies of renewable energy projects (wind energy South Italy and biofuels in east Germany) in order to accomplish the following aims:
(i) To explore policy drivers of the ‘green turn’ in the European context. The focus will be on the shift towards renewable energy sources will be –as enforced by EU governance through national institutions in the form of regulatory frameworks and incentive schemes, in order to clarify how it has enabled investment through either land use reorganisation and accumulation and restructuring of local socio-economic fabric. Specific attention will be paid to the multiscalarity of regulation processes, in order to describe how goals set by EU directives –and underpinned by long-term environment protection goals- translate into national and sub-national policies setting market mechanisms and public spending programs for renewable energy promotion.
(ii) To investigate economic drivers, business models and their spatial dynamics underpinning ‘green turn’ in the European context. This exercise will address investment geo-economical organisation and the scale of supply chains wherein investments are framed, in order to understand how economic actors’ strategies affect green grabbing mode of regulation
(iii) To explain through which mechanisms land functions are reorganised and local socio-economic fabric is restructured. Through the analysis of the general EU context and the study of specific cases (see §2 and seq.), this research will seek to identify the dynamics the role social, juridical and economic dynamics play in the European ‘green turn’.