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Energy | Tackling Long-Term Global Energy Problems - The Contribution of Social Science

Tackling Long-Term Global Energy Problems

The Contribution of Social Science

Series: Environment & Policy, Vol. 52

Spreng, D., Flüeler, Th., Goldblatt, D.L., Minsch, J. (Eds.)

2012, XXVIII, 336 p.

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  • Provides the most comprehensive treatment to date of the role played in energy research by the social sciences
  • Includes contributions notable for their multidisciplinary rigour and relevance to contemporary energy dilemmas
  • Features unique graphical syntheses of research findings
  • Supplies researchers with a solid foundation in designing their agendas

Most contemporary energy-related problems are social as much as they are technological. Yet typically, only scholars in a narrow range of social science disciplines engage in energy research.

 

This book makes a case for a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to energy research—one that brings more of the social sciences to bear. Featuring eight studies from across the spectrum of the social sciences, each applying multiple disciplines to one or more energy-related problems, the book demonstrates the strong analytical and policy-making potential of such a broadened perspective. Case studies include: energy transitions of households in developing countries, the ‘curse of oil’, politics and visions for renewables, economics and ethics in emissions trading, and carbon capture and storage.

 

The authors characterise the most pressing global energy problems, discuss the role of social science in analysing and addressing them and offer recommendations for research agendas.

 

Academics as well as practitioners working in the energy field will find the contents relevant and thought-provoking.

 

‘A forceful argument for the indispensible role of the social sciences in energy research and why the present asymmetry with the natural sciences/engineering has to be overcome in addressing the enormous complexity of the problems confronting us. A must-read for anyone interested in how academic research and civil society will either succeed or fail – together.’

Helga Nowotny, President, European Research Council

 

‘This book presents a crucial plea to all involved in energy problems. To scientists and engineers it shows that energy systems that are not well embedded in society will not function properly and sustainably. And for social scientists this book highlights how crucially important the scientific and technical dimensions of energy problems are for the social cohesion of society.’

Wiebe E. Bijker, Professor of Technology & Society, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands

Content Level » Research

Keywords » co-evolution of technology and society - knowledge types and integration - multi- and transdisciplinary approaches - research policy - social science energy research

Related subjects » Energy - Global Change - Climate Change - Policy, Economics, Management & Transport - Social Sciences - Sustainable Development

Table of contents 

Part I

1. Introduction

David L. Goldblatt, Jürg Minsch, Thomas Flüeler, and Daniel Spreng

2. Energy-Related Challenges

Thomas Flüeler, David L. Goldblatt, Jürg Minsch, and Daniel Spreng

 

3. The Indispensable Role of Social Science in Energy Research

Jürg Minsch, David L. Goldblatt, Thomas Flüeler, and Daniel Spreng

 

Part II

Invited Contributions

David L. Goldblatt, Thomas Flüeler, Jürg Minsch, and Daniel Spreng

 

4. What About Social Science and Interdisciplinarity? A 10-Year Content Analysis of Energy Policy

Benjamin K. Sovacool, Saleena Saleem, Anthony Louis D’Agostino, Catherine Regalado Ramos, Kirsten Trott, and Yanchun Ong

 

5. Towards an Integrative Framework for Energy Transitions of Households in Developing Countries

Shonali Pachauri and Daniel Spreng

 

6. A Socio-Cultural Analysis of Changing Household Electricity Consumption in India

Harold Wilhite

 

7. The Changing Context for Efforts to Avoid the ‘Curse of Oil’

Jill Shankleman

 

8. Contributions of Economics and Ethics to an Assessment of Emissions Trading

Adrian Muller

9. No Smooth, Managed Pathway to Sustainable Energy Systems – Politics, Materiality and Visions for Wind Turbine and Biogas Technology

Ulrik Jørgensen

 

10. Technical Fixes Under Surveillance – CCS and Lessons Learned from the Governance of Long-Term Radioactive Waste Management

Thomas Flüeler

 

11. Learning from the Transdisciplinary Case Study Approach: A Functional-Dynamic Approach to Collaboration Among Diverse Actors in Applied Energy Settings

Michael Stauffacher, Pius Krütli, Thomas Flüeler, and Roland W. Scholz

 

12. Lessons from the Invited Contributions

Daniel Spreng and David L. Goldblatt

 

13. Synthesis: Research Perspectives

David L. Goldblatt, Daniel Spreng, Thomas Flüeler, and Jürg Minsch

 

Part III

14. Lessons for Problem-Solving Energy Research in the Social Sciences

Jürg Minsch, Thomas Flüeler, David L. Goldblatt, and Daniel Spreng

 

Name Index

Subject Index

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