Social and political inequality as challenges in technology diffusion

Banerjee, Aparajita / Chelsea Schelly
External Publications (2018)

in: Chelsea Schelly / Aparajita Banerjee (eds.), Environmental policy and the pursuit of sustainability, London: Routledge


In this chapter, the authors present a case to show how policy programs for technological transition face inherent problems related to social and political inequality, which affect technology diffusion and ultimately the pursuit of sustainability. They describe the concept of power in the context of social and political inequality and discuss social dominance theory to provide a theoretical explanation of their study findings. The authors provide an overview of the critical role of clean cookstove technologies for achieving global sustainability and sustenance. They argue that social and political inequality in rural communities leads to elite control of government-sponsored distribution projects and plays a critical role in the implementation and successful uptake of improved cookstove. Yet social and political inequality, especially related to who has the power and how it is exercised, has a variety of localized manifestations. Widespread initiated Improved Cookstove adoption is riddled with challenges arising from variants of social, political, or economic inequality.

About the author

Banerjee, Aparajita

Environmental and Resource Sociology, Public Policy

Further experts

Never, Babette

Political Scientist 

Pegels, Anna