Pioneers as Meaning-Makers on the Pathway to Neo-Carbon Energy
Lang, Merja (2018-10-03)
Aineistoon ei liity tiedostoja.
This thesis builds on concepts of transformation, pioneers and diffusion of innovation. The key idea is that pioneers of transformation can be regarded as weak signals of change. Many researchers claim that transition in energy sources play a great role in transformation. This thesis focuses on pioneers of renewable energy. Usually transformation is analysed on the macro-level through systems models or macro-history. The theoretical framework used in this thesis is the anthroposemiotic process of culture, a framework that connects micro level to macro level. In this framework, all human activities are seen as signs that organise perceptions and give meaning to phenomena. These meanings form a global chain. Innovations are signs that seek to create new meanings, and their ability to connect to existing meanings impact their ability to diffuse. Power relations play a role, too. The empirical part of the thesis consists of a content analysis of the data collected through an international survey focusing on forerunners of Neo-Carbon Energy Scenarios, a project of Finland Futures Research Centre and Lappeenranta University of Technology. The empirical part focuses on the meanings given to the innovations of the pioneers of renewable energy and the socio-political contexts in which they work. The analysis shows that the forerunners are not only commercial actors but social movements, state actors and private individuals, too. Also, the nature and scope of their innovations vary. The thesis has three key findings: 1) most pioneers of transformation do not introduce radical innovation but rather incremental innovations on technologies yet to disrupt the market or social practices; 2) the radicality of the innovation is based as much on its contexts as on its nature; and 3) those companies that are able to combine different types of innovations, have the ability to make them diffuse.