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Publication Detail
Beyond a sociological critique of energy policy - a constructive and interactive approach
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Shipworth M
  • Publication date:
  • Name of conference:
    7th Nordic Environmental Social Science Research Conference
  • Conference place:
    Göteborg University, Sweden
  • Conference start date:
  • Conference finish date:
  • Keywords:
    home energy use sociology transdisciplinary transdisciplinarity policy modelling
New, inter-disciplinary insights into environmental problems are unlikely to be created or used in the context of battles over choice of language and the framing of environmental problems. For instance, some important and potentially revolutionary sociological insights directed at energy policy makers have been largely ignored. This may be due to these sociologists failing to practise what they preach; they have not engaged with energy policy makers’ own language and understandings of consumers and social change. These sociologists recommend that modellers and policy makers apply lessons from the socio-technical systems literature when tying to influence the energy use of consumers. They recommend that, when communicating with consumers, modellers and policy makers should not just refrain from discrediting and dismissing consumers’ understandings of energy, or their lay language for describing it, but try to work with their understandings and language. Paradoxically, these same sociologists have discredited and dismissed the modellers’ and policy-makers’ lay understandings of consumers and social change and attempted to impose their own. This antagonistic approach may have contributed to their insights being ignored by energy policy makers. Carbon Reduction in Buildings is a major four-year inter-disciplinary multi-university research project. We are developing a model of social research insights into home energy use because modelling is a language familiar and relevant to energy modellers and policy makers. Moreover, the model architecture will be established through dialogue with modellers, policy makers and other experts to elicit their understandings of consumers and social change. We hope that building on energy modellers’ and policy makers’ understandings and using the language of modelling will minimise language and framing problems and maximise the potential for inter-disciplinary insights.
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