9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN12 Environment and Society

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Governance of Water Building I, Auditório 4

Moral regulation of water pollution in Finland since the 1960s till 2000

Governance of water is approached from the viewpoint of moral regulation of water pollution in Finland during the period of 1960 ? 2000. That time the governance of water pollution took shape, institutionalized and faced major challenges, due to urbanization and growth in industrial production followed by increase in water pollution. Despite some improvements in the field of moral regulation due to technological development, breakthrough in environmentalism and various administrative and legislative reforms, there remained some regularities concerning governance that were less favorable to regulation of pollution. This study illuminates the cultural and material characteristics of Finnish governance of water pollution, the central legitimations on which it has been based as well as paradoxes and weaknesses to which it has been exposed.

Moral regulation refers to the study of moral legitimations of some modes of regulation. Therefore attention is focused on Finnish environmental authorities? legitimations of certain modes of regulation of water pollution as well as historical changes in legitimations of regulation of water pollution during the last forty years. The data consists of interviews with the environmental authorities, articles of Water Economy journal from the four decades as well as committee reports concerning water issues.

Analysis draws on discourse analysis and substantialist and subjectivist research strategies. The subjectivist strategy highlights meanings, conceptions and legitimations related to water pollution, regulation and regulated parties, whereas the substantialist research strategy contributes to the understanding of moral regulation of water pollution by explaining some regularities and characteristics of regulation by material and historical factors.

The results of this analysis are two dominant legitimations or principles that crystallize the environmental authorities? regulation of water pollution and four ethoses which crystallize broader cultural legitimations of regulation of water pollution during the last forty years. The legitimations are explained by underlying material structures.