Catherine Cherry

Cardiff University

Current Position
PhD Researcher.

Research Interests
I am interested in sustainability and how it is perceived by the public. As households currently account for around a third of carbon emissions in the UK, the concept of sustainable housing is becoming increasingly relevant. However, despite currently available technologies and practices aimed at reducing household carbon emissions, little progress has been made over the last few decades. My research aims to gain an understanding of the different ways in which knowledge and concepts surrounding the reduction of carbon emissions within the home are understood by both policy makers and the public and to consider how progress can be made towards achieving sustainability in the UK housing sector.

Duration of your PhD
2012 - 2014

Thesis's Supervisor
Nick Pidgeon.

Cardiff University.

My Thesis' Abstract
Households account for roughly a third of carbon output in developed societies, and substantial emission reductions can be made with currently available technologies and without major economic sacrifices. Yet this potential remains largely untapped, and has done for decades. Clearly the problem is not solely one of technical feasibility or cost-effectiveness, but also one of communication and understanding. We therefore need to know more about how technologies and practices for home-decarbonisation are framed and understood by different actors. This project seeks to develop this understanding, drawing on mixed research methods and different theoretical lenses, with three key stages:

  1. An analysis of “decarbonisation in the home” argumentation found in policy documents, in the media, and in the trade and NGO literatures.
  2. An analysis of how citizens understand and think about practices and technologies for decarbonisation, and of the idea of the “new home.” What knowledge of the possibilities do they have, what meaning do they assign to them, and with what devices (e.g. metaphors, analogies, humour) do they make sense of the decarbonisation agenda?
  3. Finally, what does all of this mean for the policy problem of how to encourage and achieve reductions in carbon emissions at the household-level?

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