As the Dust Settles; Completing my Framework Outlines

Head over to my thesis page to see my framework outline.

This framework outline represents a settling of scope and direction for my Environmental Studies thesis. Stitching all my thoughts together here feels good and solid. It feels like I’ve got something to say. My framework guides readers to see the world through a certain lens. I took care to ensure that my ideas, especially those derived from my own interpretation and the weaving of theories, are approachable and digestible.

This framework creates a funnel to guide readers to my situated context and research- I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I think it’s important to recognize that this section sets the stage for how readers approach the information which follows.

I thought I ought to reflect how each component of this outline has changed over time.

The point of departure emerges from my recent confrontation with green capitalism- I had avoided the theory for so long for fear I would try (and fail) at taming a beast far too large for an undergraduate. But in my recent posts I came to understand my discomfort with green capitalism, and my hope for it as well. My discovery of ecotopianism also challenged my academic identity- I don’t normally engage with more abstract theories like this. The melding of these two discomforts resulted in the exact concepts I wanted to convey- the transformation of the capitalist system which asked for more than green capitalism and the hope that such a future was possible, from ecotopianism. I also discuss those actors involved in this process with the liberal-capitalist imaginary, talking about shifts in power between state, market, civil society, and consumer.

The next part of my framework is my framing question, which though I have been tempted to modify multiple times, remains unchanged. It is accessible to the reader and gets my major point across.

The final section of the outline is the framework itself, my four topics which frame the following investigation.

Framework Map

In writing this outline I realized I needed to shift my topics a bit. I knew I wanted to keep my major actors: the state, the market, civil society, and the individual. Throughout the process I have struggled with how to best represent the state. Just last week a fellow student nudged me towards green governmentality, a theory which examines the production of power between state and non-state actors. This theory lends itself to my interest in changing power dynamics of the liberal-capitalist system. The remaining topics of corporate social responsibility, voluntary sustainability certifications and ethical consumerism remain the same as they were from the start as key core concepts.

I am most proud of how my work connects material reality with hope for a changed future. It’s not asking for too much or unrealistic. It’s not selling out to big businesses. It’s to look at the system we have, the place we want to be, and to take a step to get there. That action may be more or less effective, but we don’t know until we take it.

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