Easy or arduous? Practices, perceptions and networks driving lighting transitions from kerosene to solar in Vanuatu

Walton, Sara and Ford, Rebecca (2020) Easy or arduous? Practices, perceptions and networks driving lighting transitions from kerosene to solar in Vanuatu. Energy Research and Social Science, 65. 101449. ISSN 2214-6296

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    Abstract

    Sustainable transitions are often slow processes because the alignment of powerful institutions often takes time. Occasionally small yet significant transitions can surprise by being both widespread and quick. Such was the transition from kerosene to solar lighting in Vanuatu and as such makes a useful case study to explore and contribute towards the sustainable transitions body of knowledge. Drawing on social practice theory, we make sense at the individual participant level how the change was produced and reproduced in this Small Island Developing State (SIDS). An approach that moves away from a focus on the technology and instead works at the level of the practice, enables an understanding of how this material change did occur so rapidly. We identify the key elements of practices that enabled this transition to occur and found that across all elements of lighting practice in Vanuatu, the concept of ‘ease’ was important. As a result, we advocate for ‘keeping it easy’ and through the findings of this study illustrate how this might occur.