A cognitive mess: Mixed feelings about wind farms on the Danish coast and the emotions of energy infrastructure opposition

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The majority of local respondents in a large-scale survey were in favour of planned local wind farms on the Danish coast, despite these wind farm plans being the source of wider public and political contestation and opposition. Here we discuss results from the open-ended questions in the survey, specifically focusing on comments expressing how some respondents felt split in their views of these wind farms, accepting the need for renewable energy while at the same time being concerned about the potential local impact of the wind farms. Building on previous theoretical propositions relating to energy infrastructure opposition, here we apply the concept of cognitive polyphasia in some depth, providing a socio-cognitive account of the internal contradiction of being positively disposed to renewable energy in principle, but concerned about or opposed to specific developments in localities. We distinguish a cognitive polyphasic account of such mixed feelings from cognitive dissonance accounts, and we identify several types of polyphasic representations, providing a basis for further work in other cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101489
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.08.2020