Discursive overlap and conflictive fragmentation of risk and security in the geopolitics of energy
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As it touches all aspects of human activity and society in general, energy has become an object of discourse. Two main discourses have formed on the use of energy: risk discourse and security discourse. While environmental changes and oil depletion continue, a new application for the term security has appeared: energy security. This concept can be interpreted within the terms of risk discourse, which is oriented towards rational consensus and decision making, or as an exercise of power, sovereignty and hegemony. The boundaries between interpretations are often unclear. Thus, in an institutional framework that has fragmented principles, norms and rules, opposing discourses will overlap. Political agents and institutions deploy strategies based on these discourses. With this overlapping of discourses, the performative powers of different institutions clash, thus creating conflictive fragmentation in a governance architecture. The purpose of this investigation is to analyze the use of, replication of, and ambiguities surrounding the concept of energy security, so as to understand how and why these discourses overlap and the profound consequences that this overlap may have for present and future energy use, environmental negotiations, and political climate. © 2013 by the authors.