Title: How to find a needle in a haystack?: a theory-driven approach to social network analysis of regional energy transitions

Authors: André Schaffrin; Tanja Nietgen; Benjamin Schrempf

Addresses: EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment, Wilhelmstr. 56 53474, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany ' EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment, Wilhelmstr. 56 53474, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany ' EA European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment, Wilhelmstr. 56 53474, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany

Abstract: Social network analysis bears great potential for the study of complex social transition processes such as regional energy transitions. The complexity of the social processes results from a lack of empirical research, that utilises social network analysis. With this complexity come the difficulties in collecting relevant and sufficient empirical data. In this paper, we propose conceptual framework to select relevant cases, interviewees, and influencing factors for the empirical analysis of complex network dynamics. We base our conceptualisation on mainstream literature on socio-technical levels, phase-models of innovation processes, and social, economic, and political factors influencing the regional energy transition. We apply the case of a local and regional energy transition in a German county. We argue that the conceptual framework serves as a guiding system to a more thorough analysis of social network dynamics within complex social transition processes. It allows formulating hypotheses about different pathways and network dynamics.

Keywords: energy transition; network dynamics; socio-technical multilevel perspective; empirical data collection.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEE.2018.096401

International Journal of Computational Economics and Econometrics, 2018 Vol.8 No.3/4, pp.345 - 369

Accepted: 20 Aug 2018
Published online: 25 Nov 2018 *

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