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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, Culture & Society 37 (2), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory, Culture & Society page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/TCS on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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Low-Carbon Transition as Vehicle of New Inequalities?: Risk-Class, the Chinese Middle Class and the Moral Economy of Misrecognition

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Theory, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Volume37
Number of pages26
Pages (from-to)131-156
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date5/09/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Low-carbon innovation is usually depicted as an exemplar of pursuit of the common good, in both mainstream policy discussion and the emerging orthodoxy of transition studies. Yet it may emerge as a key means of intensifying inequality. We analyse low-carbon innovation as a social and political process through the prism of differential risk-classes, focusing on the pivotal global case of emergence of the Chinese middle-class in seaboard megacities, especially regarding the profound challenges of urban e-mobility transition. This approach shows emergence of this still-forming sociopolitical grouping as tightly and complementarily coupled with the assembling of innovations that meaningfully tackle global risks, such as climate change, while also intensifying existing inequalities. Misrecognition of the duality of low-carbon innovations as both moral technologies and as relatively expensive consumer products has the potentiality to be a key mechanism of this process, thereby serving to reproduce, constitute and legitimize inequalities in novel and unexpected ways.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory, Culture & Society 37 (2), 2019, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2019 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory, Culture & Society page: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/TCS on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/