Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions

Köhrsen J (2015)
Social Compass 62(3): 296-310.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
This article explores the role of religion in local energy transition processes. By combining insights from (a) sustainability studies and (b) academic contributions on religion and sustainability, a theoretical approach for describing the role of religion in local energy transitions is developed. Religion is conceived of as a subsystem among other local subsystems that potentially contribute via their competences to energy transition processes. Three potential functions of religion are identified: (1) campaigning and intermediation in the public sphere; (2) materialization' of transitions in the form of participation in projects related to sustainable transitions; (3) dissemination of values and worldviews that empower environmental attitudes and action. These functions are studied in the case of the energy transition in Emden, a city in north-western Germany. Although religion attends, to some degree, each of the three functions, it does not assume a dominant role relative to other local subsystems. Actors from other social subsystems appear to take over these functions in a more efficient way. Consequently, in this highly environmentally active region, there are few indicators of a specific function of religion. These results shed a critical light on the previously held assumption that religion has a crucial impact on sustainability transitions.
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Köhrsen J. Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions. Social Compass. 2015;62(3):296-310.
Köhrsen, J. (2015). Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions. Social Compass, 62(3), 296-310.
Köhrsen, J. (2015). Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions. Social Compass 62, 296-310.
Köhrsen, J., 2015. Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions. Social Compass, 62(3), p 296-310.
J. Köhrsen, “Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions”, Social Compass, vol. 62, 2015, pp. 296-310.
Köhrsen, J.: Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions. Social Compass. 62, 296-310 (2015).
Köhrsen, Jens. “Does religion promote environmental sustainability? - Exploring the role of religion in local energy transitions”. Social Compass 62.3 (2015): 296-310.
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