The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom

Hegemony, policy and the rhetoric of 'sustainable aviation'

By Steven Griggs and David Howarth

The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9780719076138
  • Publish Date: Sep 2013
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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  • Price: £85.00
  • ISBN: 9781526112125
  • Publish Date: May 2016
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information


    The massive expansion of global aviation, its insatiable demand for airport capacity and its growing contribution to carbon emissions make it a critical societal problem. Alongside traditional concerns about noise and air pollution, airport politics has been connected to the problems of climate change and peak oil. Yet it is still thought to be a driver of economic growth and connectivity in an increasingly mobile world.

    The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom provides the first in-depth analysis of the protest campaigns and policymaking practices that have marked British aviation since the construction of Heathrow Airport. Grounded in documentary analysis, interviews and policy texts, it constructs and employs poststructuralist policy analysis to chart rival groups and movements seeking to shape public policy.

    This book will appeal to people interested in the history of aviation and airports in Britain, local campaigns and environmental protests, and the politics of climate change.


    Is 'sustainable aviation' an oxymoron? Griggs and Howarth have ploughed through decades of debates on runways, terminals and airports and show how discursive power is exercised in decision making. A truly informative study that helps understand the current and future debates.
    Professor Maarten Hajer, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and University of Amsterdam

    No two scholars have made a bigger contribution to the development of a critical approach to policy analysis. Not only does their work contribute to our understanding of both public policy and political theory, it brilliantly demonstrates the way these two fields of inquiry are necessarily interconnected. For scholars and students interested in a critical analysis of contemporary policy issues, this book is essential reading.
    Professor Frank Fischer, Rutgers University, New Jersey

    A richly textured, incisive account of aviation policy debates in the UK, particularly concerning airport expansion in south-east England. The book presents both a fascinating history of air transportation in the region and an innovative analysis of the discourses surrounding aviation, its benefits, and its costs. This book offers important insights about the difficult choices to be made in aviation's next chapter.
    Dr. John Bowen, Central Washington University

    This is an important book. It combines a stimulatingly original approach to the analysis of change processes, with an expertly written account of the evolution of UK aviation policy. It therefore deserves to be read widely.
    Dr. Geoff Dudley, Research Fellow for Transport and Society, University of the West of England

    If you want to understand the complicated tensions and conflicts emerging over our addiction to flying versus our desire to deal with various environmental problems, you must read this book. But if you want to see a virtuoso elaboration of how to do discourse analysis in political science, you must read this book. Griggs and Howarth have provided us with an exemplary book that achieves both of these goals. They show in enormous detail, with meticulous argumentation, and considerable literary elegance, how the shifts in discursive contestation around aviation have evolved over time and provide the context for thinking about our ongoing dilemmas about aviation, the economy, and the environment.
    Professor Matthew Paterson, University of Ottawa

    In this study of airports and aviation Griggs and Howarth draw extensively from the corpus of work produced by the political scientist and philosopher Ernesto Laclau who in collaboration with Chantal Mouffe has written some of the most important contributions to contemporary Marxist and post-marxist political theory. From this body of work Griggs and Howarth deploy a whole series of concepts including 'hegemony', 'floating signifiers', 'empty signifiers', 'nodal points', 'radical contingency', 'undecidability', 'constitutive outside', 'dislocation', 'antagonism', and 'fantasy'.


    1. Discourse, rhetoric and logics
    2. Problematising 'sustainable aviation' in the UK
    3. The post-war regime of aviation expansion
    4. The new rhetoric of airport protest
    5. The Future of Air Transport: the 2003 white paper
    6. Resignifying airports and aviation
    7. The third runway at Heathrow airport
    Conclusion: explaining the shift, navigating the impasse


    Steven Griggs is Reader in Local Governance at De Montfort University

    David Howarth is Reader in Political Theory at the University of Essex

    The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom

    By Steven Griggs, David Howarth

    Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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