Public Policies, Social Perception and Media Content on Fracking: An Analysis in the Spanish Context

Emilia Hermelinda Lopera-Pareja, Ana Garcia Laso, Domingo Alfonso Martin-Sanchez


Energy supply and security is a topic that connects geoscience and ethics to economic, social and sustainable development. It also involves a wide range of interests and social actors, such as politicians, experts, industry, environmental NGO and citizen organizations and platforms. The fossil fuel extraction industry using hydraulic fracturing, and commonly known as fracking, is one of the most recent and controversial issues arising from the application of energy technologies in North America, South America and Europe. This paper examines the public debate in Spain on the topic of fracking from a multi-level and complementary perspective, based on data collected during 2012-2016 by exploring the development of public policies at national and regional levels, monitoring public perception through a survey, and analyzing the media content. From the theoretical frameworks of social amplification of risk and post-materialist values, a content analysis was applied to assess the relevance and the social, cultural and human values distributed by the press when dealing with fracking in Spain.

Our results concerning public policies show that there are different positions on the matter between national and regional authorities, even if both authorities belong to the same political party. Regarding social perception, almost 60 per cent of Spaniards have admitted to having no opinion about fracking. Finally, media discourse has been driven by pessimistic views, focused mainly on cost-benefit analysis and emphasizing how human health, natural resources and local communities might be negatively affected by fracking activities.

Full Text:



We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it (Read more).

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X