From Oil Crisis to Green Growth: A Conceptual Analysis of Three Central Concepts and Their Relation to Political Goals in Denmark´s Energy Plans from 1976 until Today

Thor Eriksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The present thesis analyzes how the three concepts of security of supply, socio-economics, and environment, as they relate to each other and to Danish energy policy goals, have developed since the publishing of Dansk Energipolitik 1976 until today, in order to investigate the implications for the setting of political goals in Danish energy policy. Existing studies on Danish energy policy highlight the three as central political objectives but attribute little, if any, attention to the conceptual level, thereby understating the importance of conceptualization in driving forth policymaking. In order to analyze the relationship between conceptual shifts and policymaking, the thesis constructs a two-fold analytical approach. In a first leg, inspiration is drawn from Reinhart Koselleck’s conceptual analysis in order to identify and analyze the most significant conceptual shifts that take place over the course of the energy policy plans. This first leg is interposed by a second leg, where the concepts and their relation to two meta-concepts are withdrawn from their empirical use, in order to problematize and reflect on this tension. The analysis shows how a number of conceptual shifts take place, where one concept supersedes another, where the tension between concepts shift from being constrictive to beneficial, and where concept and counter concept merge and create a new concept. In addition, the analysis shows that the conceptualizations of security of supply, socio-economics, and environment cannot be understood as mute descriptors, as their conceptualizations are both products of and productive towards an ongoing process of ontologizing. As a product of these implications, the thesis contributes to conceptual analysis a number of new ways of thinking about conceptual tension and highlights the importance of disentangling conceptualizations for policymaking and for public discourse more generally.

EducationsMSc in Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages89