With this paper, I want to raise attention to the value of social conflict in energy policy and planning, and the limitations of participatory processes for including different normative appraisals in energy policy and planning. I first discuss three perspectives on the value of social conflict. Although invited participation is generally considered as a way to ameliorate, or anticipate social conflict on energy projects, this ‘participatory reflex’ goes past the fact that social conflict can itself be considered a form of participation, i.e. self-organized participation. Second, I discuss two basic characteristics of social conflict that show the limitations of invited participation in identifying and including divergent normative appraisals: 1) social conflict challenges institutions, and 2) social conflict involves emergent positions and groups. I propose to see social conflict as self-organized participation that serves as an source for identification and inclusion of normative appraisals in energy policy and planning. This not only necessitates the study of these phenomena as such, but also suggests a different approach to deal with such phenomena in research and practice. I will lay out three directions for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Number of pages5
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

    Research areas

  • Constructive conflict, Energy transition, Governance, Social conflict

ID: 39617067