Chad Walker, Ph.D.


Research - Teaching - Impact

Do the ends justify the means? Problematizing social acceptance and instrumentally-driven community engagement in proposed energy projects


Journal article


Stacia Ryder, Chad Walker, Susana Batel, Hannah Devine-Wright, Patrick Devine-Wright
Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR), Advancing scholarship and practice of stakeholder engagement in working landscapes, 2023

Cite

Cite

APA
Ryder, S., Walker, C., Batel, S., Devine-Wright, H., & Devine-Wright, P. (2023). Do the ends justify the means? Problematizing social acceptance and instrumentally-driven community engagement in proposed energy projects. Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR), Advancing scholarship and practice of stakeholder engagement in working landscapes.

Chicago/Turabian
Ryder, Stacia, Chad Walker, Susana Batel, Hannah Devine-Wright, and Patrick Devine-Wright. “Do the Ends Justify the Means? Problematizing Social Acceptance and Instrumentally-Driven Community Engagement in Proposed Energy Projects.” Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR) Advancing scholarship and practice of stakeholder engagement in working landscapes (2023).

MLA
Ryder, Stacia, et al. “Do the Ends Justify the Means? Problematizing Social Acceptance and Instrumentally-Driven Community Engagement in Proposed Energy Projects.” Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR), vol. Advancing scholarship and practice of stakeholder engagement in working landscapes, 2023.


Abstract
Proposed energy projects across rural working landscapes play an important role in energy transitions. While community engagement has been increasingly a part of these projects, instrumental motivations for engagement and the emphasis placed on achieving social acceptance has remained uncritically examined. Here, we aim to highlight relationships between actor rationale, the structuring of engagement processes, and how communities perceive the driving forces behind engagement practices. To do so, we draw on lived experiences of communities facing proposed shale gas and wind energy projects across rural working landscapes in the UK and Canada, respectively. We find that engagement is often perceived by community members as insincere, insufficient, ineffective and instrumentally-driven. We suggest that a more community-centered approach to engagement is necessary, and will require a move beyond existing engagement and acceptance practice and frameworks. This can include creating more inclusive decision-making processes where powers are balanced and designing community engagement to incorporate multiple rationales beyond achieving social acceptance of energy projects. 

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