Socio-technical energy transitions and the tourist industry: Steering to sustainable development

Doctoral Dissertation uoadl:2876432 224 Read counter

Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Library of the School of Science
Deposit date:
Vattes Konstantinos
Dissertation committee:
Ευστάθιος Αραποστάθης, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής Ι.Φ.Ε. ΕΚΠΑ (επιβλέπων),
Αριστοτέλης Τύμπας, Καθηγητής, Ι.Φ.Ε., ΕΚΠΑ,
Θεόδωρος Σταυρινούδης, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής Τ.Δ.Ε./Τ.Ο.Δ.Τ. Πανεπιστήμιο Αιγαίου,
Ιωάννης Καλογήρου, Καθηγητής, Σχολή Χημικών Μηχανικών, ΕΜΠ,
Γεώργιος Σταμπουλής, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Οικονομικών Επιστημών, Παν. Θεσσαλίας,
Θεόδωρος Αραμπατζής, Καθηγητής, Ι.Φ.Ε., ΕΚΠΑ.
Γεώργιος Γκότσης, Καθηγητής, Ι.Φ.Ε., ΕΚΠΑ.
Original Title:
Socio-technical energy transitions and the tourist industry: Steering to sustainable development
Translated title:
Socio-technical energy transitions and the tourist industry: Steering to sustainable development
This research thesis aims at steering an energy transition also including the tourist industry so that the latter can be directed to sustainable development. In answer to this aim, this thesis' main objectives revolve around developing a hybrid model for sustainable socio-technical transitions that integrates governance and local engagement approaches and to run five energy transition scenarios, including, in the empirical case of Chios, the tourism sector. The research is theoretically based on the deep transitions concept (Schot and Kagner, 2018; Kagner and Schot, 2019), which is perceived as parallel connected transitions of a number of socio-technical (s-t) systems in the direction of sustainable development. Based on this view, it is argued that turning tourism to sustainable development requires participating in technological transformations in a series of s-t systems such as energy, transportation, water, waste as well as other ones which are related to and are affected by tourism. Nevertheless, in this research thesis, I focus on the energy transition issue, considering that the tourism sector will be included in the core of this complicated and deep socio-technical transformation.
Relying on this analysis, this work is divided into five main chapters. The first two set the theoretical framework, establishing the hybrid model which has been used as a theoretical tool. The third chapter presents the two exemplary cases regarding nested energy transitions in North Europe, while the last two refer to the empirical case, where a deep energy transition including the tourism sector in Chios is aspired to be steered. More precisely, the first chapter's main objective is to review sustainability literature on tourism studies and social sciences, delimit the vague and ambivalent sustainable development concept (Geels et al, 2017; Newig et al, 2007; Walker and Shove, 2007) according to the needs of this research thesis and partially set the framework steering the energy transition. The second chapter’s target is to review literature and, through this, to highlight the way social sciences perceive energy transitions and how the latter are related to vital environmental issues. In doing so, a critical review of the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) model is illustrated, while other transition approaches are depicted so that an enriched hybrid approach will be developed. The third chapter illustrates the two exemplary cases of nested transitions of North Europe, where an energy transformation has already started since the mid to late 90s, affecting tourism in a positive way. Thus, it presents the case of Samso deciding an energy transition after winning a state competition and that of Gotland embracing energy transition, following the state issuing directions to its regions to do so. These transitions will be analyzed with the help of the hybrid model established in the previous chapter. Through this analysis, the different actors, their dynamics and the users’ importance can be identified, while it will also facilitate my transition to the empirical case by inspiring me in regard to issues of the institutional framework developed, the technologies used and the actors established. The fourth chapter presents a socio-technical analysis of the national electricity regime as well as of the Chian nested energy regime. Additionally, performing a deep transition requires evaluating tourism as well as other interrelated s-t regimes like the transportation one; hence, an analysis of those regimes in the local level in tandem with the electricity regime will take place. The fifth chapter steers an energy transition in the empirical case. The transition process follows the logic of different pathways (Foxon et al, 2013), resulting in social and technical alterations; building on this, five different scenarios of deep energy transitions including tourism will be presented, in a 30-year horizon. Consequently, the scenarios of “flourish of renewables”, the “gas emergence”, the “linkage with the neighbors”, the “continental solution to the motherland” and the “interconnection with others” are illustrated. Different scenarios declare a divergence in the transition's starting point, the local engagement level and technological decisions.
These final points are important issues also relating to what this research can contribute. Hence, local engagement in the transition process, albeit in a fully coordinated top down transition, is a central objective. Developing a local steering actor as a way to facilitate local engagement and accelerate energy transitions in frameworks with a political culture similar with the Greek one, where innovative institutional contexts and mature technologies don't seem to be adequate in achieving transforming the energy sector, is another core issue highlighted in this work. A third issue is that this research focuses on the significance of technologies in the transition pathways that will be followed. Influenced by the STS analysis, the methodological hybrid approach, which is used in this research, draws attention to the fact that different technologies involve different actors exerting other pace of power, namely changing the power relations in the process, while further, these infrastructures have divergent dynamic (agency) ultimately resulting in alternative s-t transition pathways. Finally, this research thesis also contributes to enriching relevant literature of sustainable development on tourism, by proposing a new perception in the way Tourist Studies perceive and approach sustainable development on tourism.
Main subject category:
socio-technical energy transitions, governance, sustainable development, sustainable tourism development, social engagement
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