Consumer Behavior and Energy Policy: An International Perspective

By Eric Monnier; George Gaskell et al. | Go to book overview

5
The Social Logic of Energy Conservation in the Industrial Society: Five Theses on Limitations and Possibilities

Tom R. Burns

The central argument of this chapter is that the limited success of energy conservation policies and programs derives, in a very fundamental way, from the specific culture, institutional arrangements, and politics of industrial societies. Limitations are identified in (a) the data and social intelligence concerning energy consumption and end-use; (b) policy making structures and interests dominating these; and (c) the means available for implementing policies and regulating energy consumption. It is also argued that fundamental change in energy consumption patterns will be brought about, if at all, through minority groups and social movements effectively advocating new social values, life styles, and institutional arrangements--that is through pedagogic and political processes in their broadest meaning.


INTRODUCTION: CONSERVATION IN THE MODERN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY

Until 15 or so years ago, industrialization had enjoyed an extraordinary and almost continuous success--except for

I am grateful to Maja Arnestad, Thomas Baumgartner and Rienier de Man, and Udo Simonis for reading an earlier draft and suggesting improvements.

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