The Contribution of Local Experiments and Negotiation Processes to Field-Level Learning in Emerging (Niche) Technologies: Meta-Analysis of 27 New Energy Projects in Europe

Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society 28 (6):464-477 (2008)
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Abstract

This article examines how local experiments and negotiation processes contribute to social and field-level learning. The analysis is framed within the niche development literature, which offers a framework for analyzing the relation between projects in local contexts and the transfer of local experiences into generally applicable rules. The authors examine 2 case studies drawn from a meta-analysis of 27 new energy projects. The case studies, both pertaining to biogas projects for local municipalities, illustrate the diversity of applications for a technology through processes of local variation and selection. The authors examine the diversity of expectations and the negotiation and alignment of these expectations underlying the diversity of local solutions. Moreover, the authors address how the transfer of lessons from individual local experiments can follow different pathways and yet always require due attention to the social and cultural limits to the transferability of solutions.

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