ERIC Number: ED191630
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Aug-24
Sociological Perspectives on Energy and Rural Development: A Review of Major Frameworks for Research on Developing Countries.
Koppel, Bruce; Schlegel, Charles
The principal sociological frameworks used in energy research on developing countries can be appraised in terms of the view of the energy-rural development problem that each framework implies. "Socio-Technical Analysis," which is used most in industrial and organizational sociology and in ecological anthropology, is oriented to the decomposition of production processes into discrete components. There has been little use of the "Diffusion Framework" in researching energy-rural development questions because there is uncertainty about how the energy problem can be stated in terms compatible with a diffusion perspective. The Dependency Framework views the energy question as an element of the international economic system and the energy-rural development issues as part of the dynamics of underdevelopment. Application of the "Social Impact Analysis," which is the utilization of an eclectic mix of elements from other frameworks, works best when it operates on the basis of some social theory which guides its focus. Since it considers both energy and social systems, the "Ecological Approach" is preferred for social research on energy and rural development. Because it is suspected that the real challenge of the energy crisis is "completely social" (social ability to anticipate, learn, manage, and organize) and because success in energy conservation and non-conventional energy generation programs must be measured ultimately against the broader dynamics of poverty, it is believed that social scientists have a responsibility to approach the problem from the perspective of overcoming poverty. (CM)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Rural Sociological Society (Burlington, VT, August 24-26, 1979).