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Exploring discourses of decarbonisation: the social construction of low carbon housing

Cherry, Catherine 2015. Exploring discourses of decarbonisation: the social construction of low carbon housing. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

With the UK committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, and British households accounting for around 25% of national carbon emissions, decarbonising the domestic sector is central to achieving this target. promoted as part of a solution to climate change, UK low carbon housing policy has developed rapidly over the last decade, leading to the development of a range of policies aimed at decarbonising the housing stock. Understood as socially constructed, the way in which social and environmental issues are interpreted and communicated can have an important influence on the success or failure of policy responses, as well as on public understandings. This thesis explores the discourses surrounding low carbon housing as they exist within di�erent sectors of society. Employing an interpretive qualitative methodology, this analysis utilises discourse and thematic analysis to explore low carbon housing discourse, investigating the policy, media, expert and public representations in turn. Rooted in Ecological modernisation, low carbon housing discourse is shown to adopt a techno-economic approach to reducing carbon emissions from housing; an approach that is embedded within policy, media and expert discourses. In contrast, public understandings of low carbon housing draw on broader discourses of Environmental concern, whilst understandings of low carbon housing are based around resource use and the embodied carbon within the material housing. Through investigation of the assumptions surrounding the incentives and mechanisms for change embedded within the discourses, this thesis highlights the socially constructed nature of low carbon housing, demonstrating the important role that environmental and everyday values play in public understandings of what is often considered to be a purely technological entity. This alternative understanding of low carbon housing within the public sphere opens up a new discursive space and may provide a new direction from which to approach the issue of reducing carbon emissions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:22
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/76516

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