Disclosing Citizens’ Perceptual Patterns of the Transition to Renewable Energy in Germany

in Nature and Culture
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Abstract

The article aims to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns underlying the public’s view of the German energy transition. By reducing the complexity of the public’s views to its main dimensions, the article contributes to a deeper understanding of citizens’ reactions to transition projects such as the German energy transition. This research is based on a German-wide representative survey that included items covering different aspects concerning the acceptance of energy technologies (trust in key actors, fairness, perceived risks and benefits, etc.). In order to explore citizens’ perceptual patterns of the German energy transition, we drew on the method of categorical principal component analysis. On the basis of our results, we hypothesize that risk-benefit/acceptance and trust/fairness are two main latent dimensions underlying citizens’ perception of the energy transition.

Contributor Notes

Marco Sonnberger studied sociology and political science at the Universities of Stuttgart and Heidelberg. Since April 2009 he is a researcher at the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS, University of Stuttgart). Since 2016 he is speaker of the research field Sustainability and Transition Research at ZIRIUS. His main research interests are social scientific energy and mobility research, sustainable consumption, lifestyle research, sociology of risk, environmental sociology, and technology assessment. E-mail: marco.sonnberger@zirius.uni-stuttgart.de

Michael Ruddat studied political science and sociology at the University of Stuttgart. Since September 2012 he is a researcher at the Stuttgart Research Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Studies (ZIRIUS, University of Stuttgart). His main research interests are risk perception and risk communication, sociology of technology, and sustainable development. Email: michael.ruddat@zirius.uni-stuttgart.de

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