Uncovering the Patterns of United States Oil Diversification Motivations via a neo-Coxian Interpretation
Date: 3 August 2020
University of Exeter
PhD in Politics
This thesis develops and applies neo-Coxian analysis to understand patterns of US oil diversification motivations. Because mainstream IR approaches lack a historical perspective and do not consider reflexivity due to their overt rationalism, a historicism method is employed to uncover the motivations for US oil diversification in this ...
This thesis develops and applies neo-Coxian analysis to understand patterns of US oil diversification motivations. Because mainstream IR approaches lack a historical perspective and do not consider reflexivity due to their overt rationalism, a historicism method is employed to uncover the motivations for US oil diversification in this research. Critical Theory, which prioritizes a ‘holistic view’ of IR, helps to uncover these motivations through analysis of oil diversification processes, to understand how they have changed when viewed from a duration-based perception which includes a ‘diachronic’ time period and also a ‘synchronic’ one moment snapshot. Whereas rational IR approaches are supported by established methodologies, researching from a reflexivity perspective requires innovative methodological strategies. Here, three cases were chosen to examine US oil diversification motivations, namely the Keystone XL pipeline, the Iraq War and the Arctic Drilling in the context of Energy Revolution. All are considered key cases for illustrating such motivations. Primary data was collected from official archives to identify how political agents have viewed oil diversification, within the three case studies. Semi- structured elite interviews with social actors (e.g. policymakers, business, NGOs) were also conducted to support data collection. The theoretical analysis shows that Coxian Critical theory can explain US oil diversification motivations and can help to uncover the patterns of these motivations through the interaction of ideas, material capabilities and institutions, thereby providing an original contribution to knowledge. However, when a Coxian interpretation is reviewed, social dynamics as a new structural sphere arises as one of the important factors of US oil diversification motivations in the new millennium. The research finds that the patterns of US oil diversification motivations can be classified under: 1. oil politics, 2. domestic politics and 3. foreign policy. Moreover, there are also contradictions (i.e. 1. economy-biosphere, 2. national-state interests and 3. national-transnational benefits) that are the products of the system, which should be accepted as patterns and triggers of the system. However, their existence is not persistent and depends on the context in which they are created.
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