IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

How to change attitudes and behaviours in the context of energy

Listed author(s):
  • Owens, Susan
  • Driffill, Louise
Registered author(s):

    It is commonly assumed that attitudes and behaviours need to be modified to secure a sustainable energy future. This paper examines insights from the social sciences in this extensive field. Alongside instruments such as regulation and economic measures, government campaigns have sought to 'educate' the public. However, such 'information deficit' models have been criticised on theoretical and pragmatic grounds. In the area of energy consumption, there is a need to take account of the physical, social, cultural and institutional contexts that shape and constrain people's choices, and for a richer understanding of opposition to energy facility siting, which has often been (inadequately) characterised as 'NIMBYism'. Recent work also points to the need for more deliberation and better communication between decision-makers, technical experts, other stakeholders and the public. Predicting future developments in the field is challenging but attention is likely to focus on aspects of policy learning, a more critical examination of the 'deliberative turn', and the need for a systemic approach to complex socio-economic and socio-technical systems. The consistency of government objectives across all policy spheres is likely to provide an important avenue for future research.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 36 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 12 (December)
    Pages: 4412-4418

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:12:p:4412-4418
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. R Kemp, 1990. "Why not in my backyard? A radical interpretation of public opposition to the deep disposal of radioactive waste in the United Kingdom," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 22(9), pages 1239-1258, September.
    2. S E Eden, 1993. "Individual Environmental Responsibility and its Role in Public Environmentalism," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 25(12), pages 1743-1758, December.
    3. Susan Owens, 2000. "'Engaging the public': information and deliberation in environmental policy," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 32(7), pages 1141-1148, July.
    4. N/A, 2006. "The UK Economy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 196(1), pages 40-59, April.
    5. Dan Durning, 1999. "The transition from traditional to postpositivist policy analysis: A role for Q-methodology," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 389-410.
    6. S E Eden, 1993. "Individual environmental responsibility and its role in public environmentalism," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(12), pages 1743-1758, December.
    7. Owens, Susan, 1985. "Potential energy planning conflicts in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 546-558, December.
    8. J Burgess & C M Harrison & P Filius, 1998. "Environmental communication and the cultural politics of environmental citizenship," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(8), pages 1445-1460, August.
    9. Susan Owens, 2002. "A collision of adverse opinions' ? Major projects, planning inquiries, and policy change," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 34(6), pages 949-953, June.
    10. J Burgess & C M Harrison & P Filius, 1998. "Environmental Communication and the Cultural Politics of Environmental Citizenship," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 30(8), pages 1445-1460, August.
    11. Susan Owens, 2004. "Siting, sustainable development and social priorities," Journal of Risk Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 101-114, March.
    12. R Kemp, 1990. "Why Not in My Backyard? A Radical Interpretation of Public Opposition to the Deep Disposal of Radioactive Waste in the United Kingdom," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 22(9), pages 1239-1258, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:36:y:2008:i:12:p:4412-4418. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.