Communicating energy vulnerability : an exploration of energy advice within and beyond formal settings

Butler, DE ORCID: 2020, Communicating energy vulnerability : an exploration of energy advice within and beyond formal settings , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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The purpose of this study is to generate a better understanding of the role of energy-related advice and support – an area that has been regarded as underexplored and undervalued, yet a critical part of the package of efforts to tackle fuel poverty. The study examines the experiences of energy vulnerability and related advice and support within and beyond formal energy advice services focusing on lived experience, the role of social relations, framings and factors involved in determining effectiveness, and the distinct and interrelated role of informal sources, settings and styles of advice. Theorising energy-related advice and support through the lens of Goldsmith’s (2004) Communication Model of Advice, it argues for this mechanism of tackling fuel poverty to be regarded as essential, not complementary. Further, it calls for energy advice and support to be characterised less by definable inputs and measurable outputs, instead viewing it as a social process, where contexts, perceptions of self, and relations with others play critical roles. Adopting a qualitative methodology rooted in phenomenological psychology, the study explores lived experience through a narrative-thematic analysis of twenty-four in-depth semi-structured interviews with energy advisors and households. The analysis, structured around three overarching themes, presents a bottom-up framing for how effective energy-related advice can be characterised. It argues that effectiveness is understood in practical, informational and emotional terms, and can be located at the intersection of three areas – problems, people, and process - which should be given greater prominence in research, policy and practice where effective provision is a central aim. Keywords: energy advice, energy vulnerability, fuel poverty, lived experience, phenomenology, psychology, social policy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Sherriff, G (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: DE Butler
Date Deposited: 10 May 2021 08:59
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:52

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