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Beyond the ABC: climate change policy and theories of social change

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  • Elizabeth Shove
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    Abstract

    In this short and deliberately provocative paper I reflect on what seems to be a yawning gulf between the potential contribution of the social sciences and the typically restricted models and concepts of social change embedded in contemporary environmental policy in the UK, and in other countries too. As well as making a strong case for going beyond what I refer to as the dominant paradigm of ‘ABC’—attitude, behaviour, and choice—I discuss the attractions of this model, the blind spots it creates, and the forms of governance it sustains. This exercise provides some insight into why so much relevant social theory remains so marginalised, and helps identify opportunities for making better use of existing intellectual resources.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning A.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 6 (June)
    Pages: 1273-1285

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    Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:42:y:2010:i:6:p:1273-1285

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    Web page: http://www.pion.co.uk

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    Cited by:
    1. Nicholls, Larissa & Strengers, Yolande, 2014. "Air-conditioning and antibiotics: Demand management insights from problematic health and household cooling practices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 673-681.
    2. Rebecca Pearce & Suraje Dessai & Stewart Barr, 2013. "Re-Framing Environmental Social Science Research for Sustainable Water Management in a Changing Climate," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 959-979, March.
    3. Rosalyn A. V. Robison & Cathrine V. Jansson-Boyd, 2013. "Perspectives on Sustainability: Exploring the Views of Tenants in Supported Social Housing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(12), pages 5249-5271, December.
    4. Gadenne, David & Sharma, Bishnu & Kerr, Don & Smith, Tim, 2011. "The influence of consumers' environmental beliefs and attitudes on energy saving behaviours," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7684-7694.
    5. Eva Heiskanen & Oksana Mont & Kate Power, 2014. "A Map Is Not a Territory—Making Research More Helpful for Sustainable Consumption Policy," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 27-44, March.
    6. Carol Booth, 2012. "Bystanding and Climate Change," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(4), pages 397-416, November.
    7. Sweeney, Jillian C. & Kresling, Johannes & Webb, Dave & Soutar, Geoffrey N. & Mazzarol, Tim, 2013. "Energy saving behaviours: Development of a practice-based model," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 371-381.
    8. Jiang, Ping & Chen, Yihui & Xu, Bin & Dong, Wenbo & Kennedy, Erin, 2013. "Building low carbon communities in China: The role of individual’s behaviour change and engagement," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 611-620.
    9. Marsden, Greg & Docherty, Iain, 2013. "Insights on disruptions as opportunities for transport policy change," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 46-55.
    10. Tiefenbeck, Verena & Staake, Thorsten & Roth, Kurt & Sachs, Olga, 2013. "For better or for worse? Empirical evidence of moral licensing in a behavioral energy conservation campaign," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 160-171.
    11. Shaw, Isabel & Ozaki, Ritsuko, 2013. "Energy provision and housing development: Re-thinking professional and technological relations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 427-430.
    12. Axsen, Jonn & Orlebar, Caroline & Skippon, Stephen, 2013. "Social influence and consumer preference formation for pro-environmental technology: The case of a U.K. workplace electric-vehicle study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 96-107.
    13. Schelly, Chelsea, 2014. "Implementing renewable energy portfolio standards: The good, the bad, and the ugly in a two state comparison," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 543-551.
    14. Simcock, Neil & MacGregor, Sherilyn & Catney, Philip & Dobson, Andrew & Ormerod, Mark & Robinson, Zoe & Ross, Simon & Royston, Sarah & Marie Hall, Sarah, 2014. "Factors influencing perceptions of domestic energy information: Content, source and process," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 455-464.
    15. Sarah Hards, 2011. "Social Practice and the Evolution of Personal Environmental Values," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(1), pages 23-42, February.
    16. Schwanen, Tim & Banister, David & Anable, Jillian, 2011. "Scientific research about climate change mitigation in transport: A critical review," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 993-1006.
    17. Naus, Joeri & Spaargaren, Gert & van Vliet, Bas J.M. & van der Horst, Hilje M., 2014. "Smart grids, information flows and emerging domestic energy practices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 436-446.
    18. repec:ese:iserwp:2013-21 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Alison Browne & Will Medd & Ben Anderson, 2013. "Developing Novel Approaches to Tracking Domestic Water Demand Under Uncertainty—A Reflection on the “Up Scaling” of Social Science Approaches in the United Kingdom," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 1013-1035, March.

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