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From governing behaviour to transformative change: A typology of household energy initiatives in Switzerland

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Published in Energy Policy. 2019, vol. 129, p. 1261-1270
Abstract Based on a study of fifty initiatives aimed at reducing energy usage among Swiss households, we uncover what representations of change and forms of engagement are put forward by these initiatives, and the related policy implications. Two ideal-types emerge from our analysis: first, the dominant worldview of change as based on governing behaviour towards ‘better’ individual choices, made possible through rationalising, evaluating, and awareness-raising; second, an ideal-type which involves representations of change based on recognizing the social embeddedness of practices and socio-technical systems. Initiatives that fall into this category seek to transform how everyday life plays out, in relation to energy services and systems of provision, while challenging dominant norms around individuals as central to change. In comparing the Swiss case to over 1,000 initiatives across Europe, we discuss what makes Switzerland a forerunner in relation to this second ideal type. Further, we assess how different forms of engagement are at play, involving the participation of diverse groups of people in initiative design and implementation, while aiming towards more durable, effective and innovative solutions – which we see as a subset of the two ideal types, and one that merits further study.
Keywords Energy transitionSufficiencyHouseholdsSwitzerland
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Research group Pôle/Institut Gouvernance de l'environnement et développement territorial (PI-GEDT)
Projects FNS: 4O7L4O_L5374 (PNR71)
H2020: ENERGISE
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SAHAKIAN, Marlyne, DOBIGNY, Laure. From governing behaviour to transformative change: A typology of household energy initiatives in Switzerland. In: Energy Policy, 2019, vol. 129, p. 1261-1270. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:115667

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Deposited on : 2019-04-02

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