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Community representations of unconventional gas development in Australia, Canada, and the United States, and their effect on social licence

Luke, Hanabeth and Evensen, Darrick 2017. Community representations of unconventional gas development in Australia, Canada, and the United States, and their effect on social licence. In: Whitton, John, Brasier, Kathy and Cotton, Matthew eds. Governing Shale Gas: Development, Citizen Participation and Decision Making in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe, Routledge,

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Abstract

Unconventional gas development provides a fascinating opportunity for better understanding how the intersection of local social structure and external industrial pressures shape rural landscapes. Previous research on social responses to unconventional gas development (UGD) explores motivations for supporting or opposing industry development. Research has revealed differing perceptions in areas where the UGD industry emerged early versus later on (or not at all). We take up the question of why systematic differences may exist between regions at different stages of development, integrating social representations theory with the concept of social licence to operate to explain differences in attitudes to UGD. Born to social psychology, social representations theory describes how communities characterise concepts, ideas, or objects. Social representations underpin the development of community views, opinions, attitudes and behaviours, and are useful for understanding how communities respond to novel industrial developments (Deaux & Philogène, 2001; Evensen and Stedman, 2016; Moscovici, 2001). Social representations are collectively generated characterisations of an issue that are then internalised to various extents by individuals. ‘Social licence to operate’ is also a community-level attribute that has a mix of societal-level and individual-level antecedents. The concept of social licence to operate provides a frame for understanding community responses to industrial developments, upon which a spectrum of community views, opinions, attitudes and behaviours can be placed (Dare, Schirmer, & Vanclay, 2014; Luke, Lloyd, Boyd, & den Exter, 2014b; Thomson & Boutilier, 2011). Social representations could include portrayals of both the effects of UGD and of the UGD industry, each potentially shaping assessment of the extent to which social licence may exist or not.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Acceptance
Status: In Press
Schools: Energy Systems Research Institute (ESURI)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Psychology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Publisher: Routledge
Date of Acceptance: 10 July 2017
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2017 08:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/102914

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