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Accepted Paper:

Normality and social capital: a comparative study of socio-cultural acceptance of renewable energy technologies in India and South Africa  
ANIKA HAQUE (University of York)

Paper short abstract:

The paper demonstrates the influence of normality and social capital on acceptance or rejection of renewable energy technologies, which are crucial, but (often) overlooked, to promote effective and meaningful ‘just’ energy transition pathways in the global South.

Paper long abstract:

In the global context of reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards sustainable modes of urban infrastructure, strategies that provide decentralized access to renewable energy technologies for the urban poor are increasingly promoted. However, while innovative energy technologies are introduced in order to support global targets for sustainability and service-delivery while also directly benefiting low-income households (e.g. by reducing the monetary costs of energy), there is widespread evidence that low-income urban dwellers do not always readily accept these technologies. Typically, the urban poor are blamed for failing to adopt new technologies, with little consideration for underlying socio-cultural causes. Using examples drawn from qualitative research in low-income settlements in India and South Africa, this paper demonstrates the role of socio-cultural attitudes and practices in affecting social acceptance of domestic solar energy interventions. Focusing specifically on perceptions of normality and practices of social capital, both of which are connected to collective social influence, the paper reveals how these concepts affect the socio-cultural acceptance of new energy technologies amongst low-income urban dwellers in the global South. Furthermore, we argue that adopting a socio-cultural perspective is a crucial, but (often) overlooked, aspect of scholarly and policy analyses of, and strategies for, energy transitions in the global South.

Panel P40
Just energy transitions from the ground up. Decoloniality and renewable energy transitions
  Session 2 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -