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"Renewable energy and sociotechnical change: imagined subjectivities of ‘the public’ and their implications"

Walker, G, Cass, N, Burningham, K and Barnett, J (2010) "Renewable energy and sociotechnical change: imagined subjectivities of ‘the public’ and their implications" Environment and Planning A, 42 (4). pp. 931-947.

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The public’ are potentially implicated in processes of sociotechnical change as political actors who welcome or resist technology development in general, or in particular places and settings. We argue in this paper that the potential influence of public subjectivities on sociotechnical change is realised not only through moments of active participation and protest, but also through ‘the public’ being imagined, given agency, and invoked for various purposes by actors in technical – industrial and policy networks. As a case study we explore the significance of an imagined and anticipated public subjectivity for the development of renewable energy technologies in the UK. We use interviews with a diversity of industry and policy actors to explore how imaginaries of the public are constructed from first-hand and mediated experience and knowledge, and the influence these imagined public subjectivities may have on development trajectories and on actor strategies and activities. We show how the shared expectation of an ever present latent but conditional public hostility to renewable energy project development is seen as shaping the material forms of the technologies, their evolving spatiality, and practices of public engagement involved in obtaining project consent. Implications for the actors we are interested in and for broader questions of democratic practice are considered.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Centre for Environmental Strategy
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Walker, G
Cass, N
Burningham, K
Barnett, J
Date : 2 April 2010
DOI : 10.1068/a41400
Related URLs :
Additional Information : "Walker, G., Cass, N., Burningham, K., & Barnett, J. (2010). The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment & Planning A, 42 (4), 931-947, DOI: 10.1068/a41400."
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 05 Feb 2013 14:57
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:58

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