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Azizov, Polad, 2023. Defining the technology inherent social representations of BEV sceptics in social media discourses. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

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The transportation sector is one of the most important locomotives of the world economy and its role in the progress of humanity is undeniable. However, it is also one of the major contributors of the global GHG emission, which raises sharp and urgent sustainability questions. To address those questions numerous technological solutions have been developed to date. One of them is happening right now in the automotive industry – electrification of transportation. Today, battery electric vehicles (BEV) are considered by many to be the most plausible option we have right now to attain sustainable mobility. However, there are also others, who are sceptical about this technology, to say the least. In this thesis I aimed to analyse the motives behind the opposition of such sceptics using their discourses on social media by applying the framework of social representations.

The research in this thesis is based on qualitative interpretivist study of textual corpora in the form of comments generated under two YouTube videos that discuss the subject matter of BEV and sustainability. The use of social media as the source of empirical material to analyse such controversial topics as sustainability is getting more popular within academic circles through time, as it is generally believed that such media is capable of providing democratic platforms for anyone who want to share and negotiate their beliefs in fairly safe space.

Social representations identified in the research material have been classified under such groups as BEV affordability, driving range, charging infrastructure, vehicle reliability, vehicle practicality, batteries, electricity generation and so forth, which cover the central issues that BEV technology sceptics based their argumentations on. The results of the research provide the view on which communicative mechanisms that is either the elements of objectification or anchoring, the sceptics used throughout their meaning making in the comments. Further, to view how the authors of different comments sought to reinforce the validity of their argumentations, their claims have been put into the frame of either hegemonic, emancipated, or polemic social representations.

The results of this thesis can be of use for the researchers that aim at understanding the attitudes of laypeople towards BEVs and novel sustainable technologies in general, for the professionals in the public domain and NGOs that strive to effectively communicate the sustainability topics to their target audiences, and also for the constantly increasing number of BEV manufacturers to better understand and efficiently address the concerns of their potential customer base.

Main title:Defining the technology inherent social representations of BEV sceptics in social media discourses
Authors:Azizov, Polad
Supervisor:Rödl, Malte
Examiner:Mutter, Amelia and Holmgren, Sara
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:BEV, BEV sceptics, social representation, social media
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural engineering
Deposited On:17 Jan 2023 12:02
Metadata Last Modified:18 Jan 2023 02:00

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