CURE aims to better understand the various forms of active resistance against energy transitions. CURE will examine the different reasons, concerns, and life situations resistance originates from and what characterises the social dynamics of resistance. The green shift, like any transition, involves making priorities and investments, which comes with intended as well as unintended cost and consequences, winners and loosers. Arguably, findings will also contribute to understand how energy policy and technology can be implemented in a more just and democratic way.
Wind-turbines, toll-roads, smart-meters, and electric cars are examples of technologies that mobilise resistance. The various constellations of this mobilisation comprise of people representing a multitude of interests, demographics, and positions, and range from individual to global initiatives. The resistance is expressed in many ways, through different channels, aimed at different target groups. It includes a spectre of opinions from seemingly fair and even necessary objections, to hate speech, anti-democratic and anti-scientific ideas.
Despite efforts and important contributions from many disciplines, CURE argues that a comprehensive and integrated approach to resistance against energy transitions is still missing. By developing a framework for conceptualising this kind of resistance, CURE wish to contribute to a more inclusive energy transition involving all segments of the population and safeguards our democratic ideals.
The CURE consortium is selected based on the team members’ disciplinary competencies, methodological experience, previous successful collaboration in relevant projects, as well as a genuine interest in the topic. CURE will apply a range of theoretical and methodological approaches, combining existing datasets and surveys, with various forms of qualitative methodologies. The weight of empirical cases will be Norwegian.
Energy transitions are changing society in fundamental ways. Norwegian and EU related efforts rely on the development and uptake of policies, technologies and infrastructures with the objective of extensive carbon emissions reduction. Yet, energy transitions involve not only changes in the production, distribution and consumption of energy but significant social and behavioural transformations as well that may question our understandings of democracy. There is consensus that in order for these measures to be efficient and successfully implemented they must be accepted by the public. However, despite the scholarly and practitioners focus on acceptance, active resistance towards low carbon policies and technologies seems to be increasingly widespread and visible at all societal levels.
Resistance to energy technologies and policies is not a homogenous nor simple phenomenon. It may have multiple origins and is operating on different levels: from the single individual to highly organised efforts involving numerous people, from local initiatives to global mass gatherings. Furthermore, it may comprise a great variety of voices, concerns, forms, material artefacts, practices and effects. Today, these dimensions are growing increasingly entangled, as local resistance might see themselves as part of broader collectives and global struggles. Furthermore, internet is opening for now possibilities for articulations of resistance, and even radicalising it.
The situation calls for a more applicable concept of resistance and empirical research that offers a more nuanced understanding of the phenomenon. CURE aims to (1) produce systemic, research-based knowledge of active resistance against low-carbon transitions (energy policy and technology). (2)Contribute to the development and implementation of more socially sustainable and democratic pathways to low carbon societies.