This thesis delves into the different imaginaries which are visible in the Dutch nitrogen controversy between the government and farmers. To combat global warming, the government came up with rules and regulations to reduce nitrogen emissions in all sectors. The rules and regulations caused some backlash from the agricultural sector, they voiced their frustrations in protests organized by the action group Farmers Defense Force. The farmers and government have different imaginaries in the nitrogen controversy, this can be related to theory on public involvement in politics, different realities, and truth by using the scholars Marres (2007), Shapin and Schaffer (1985), and James (1907). The different imaginaries were analyzed with a critical discourse analysis on social media outlets by the farmers and government. Policy documents were analyzed as well. It turned out that within the two imaginaries from the farmers and the government there are divergences and convergences when it comes to the role of politics and government, the role of agriculture, and the role of global warming. The results show that the nitrogen controversy resulted in public division. One might say there is a division between farmers and politics, farmers and other publics, and farmers and the media.

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Willem Schinkel, Bonnie French
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Hooijer, N. (2021, June 20). The Dutch nitrogen controversy Environmental concerns from The Hague to the countryside. Sociology. Retrieved from