Department of Business Development and Technology

Gerardo Zarazua de Rubens

Between hope, hype, and hell: Electric mobility and the interplay of fear and desire in sustainability transitions

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Conceptualizations and articulations of ‘the future’ play a persistent and important role in discussions about technology adoption and the broader domain of sustainability transitions. The Sociology of Expectations, part of the transitions and science and technology studies literature, specifically focusses on the performative role that desirable expectations play in the development and marketing of a technology. In this paper we argue that these insights can be coupled with the performative role of undesirable futures, as outlined by Critical Security Studies. Based on a qualitative diffractive reading of these twin literatures we argue that the performativity around desired and undesired futures follows distinct yet complementary logics. Our reading highlights that a focus on expectations alone does not fully explain the initiation and success of a sustainable innovation, nor that a focus on undesired futures fully explains the acceptance of security claims. The paper exemplifies these insights with a reflection on electric vehicle development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Pages (from-to)88-102
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Automobility, Critical security studies, Electric mobility, Sociology of expectations, Uncertainty

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