Ambiguous Winds of Change – Or Fighting Against Windmills in Chinese Wind Power

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Ambiguous Winds of Change – Or Fighting Against Windmills in Chinese Wind Power

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Titel: Ambiguous Winds of Change – Or Fighting Against Windmills in Chinese Wind Power
Mapping Controversies over a Potential Turn to Quality in Chinese Wind Power
Forfatter: Kirkegaard, Julia Kirch
Resume: The thesis inquires into dynamics and controversies of constructing a market for wind power in China. Inquiring into what the thesis dubs a quality crisis in Chinese wind power after years of high growth rates, and into a potential turn to quality, the thesis traces such current ambiguous winds of change with point of departure in the notion of global innovation networks (GINs). Thus, it looks into how international collaborations on critical components, such as software programmes, play a critical role in the qualification of wind power as a ‘sustainable’ renewable energy source. However, with a structural rather than micro-relational or processual lens, the existing GIN literature is claimed to be ill-equipped to grasp the genesis, dynamics, and agency of GINs. To fill this gap, the thesis develops a situational, constructivist framework based in Science and Technology Studies, which renders a processual and relational understanding of GINs as part and parcel of market construction. It does this by initially ‘looking away’ from the original metaphor of GINs, with the result of effectively reconceptualising it. This is done by illustrating the dynamics and the agency of GIN genesis through a mapping of controversies over issues of Intellectual Property Rights, standardisation, money, and cost and price calculations, entangled in a Chinese ‘system problem’ of stateowned actors and a Chinese experimental pragmatism of market construction, which has had unintended effects. Tracing one potential GIN taking shape around a critical component, the thesis also contributes to the GIN literature through a new methodological approach. Illustrating the potentially disruptive dynamics of GIN construction, and how the emerging GIN around software programmes possesses disruptive agency in regard to the framing of the emerging Chinese wind power market, the thesis sheds light on some of the socio-material work needed to construct and maintain GINs and the markets it co-constitutes and is co-constituted by, as well as the negotiated roles, identities, and positions of actors in a developmental context of China. The thesis coins the seemingly particular Chinese mode of market construction within wind power a fragmented and experimental ‘pragmatics of (green) market construction’, with its agile responses to emerging issues. Last, to overcome the dualism between structural and processual accounts, the thesis draws on the pragmatist notion of figuration (Elias, 1978). After demonstrating a potential figurational change reflected in the ongoing turn to quality, the thesis also considers the implications that the inquiry has for other related literatures, hereunder proposing a new research agenda for New Economic Sociology to understand market and GIN construction in a developmental context, which holds a promise for inquiring into China’s self- and other-disruptive, yet potentially path-creating modes of development and upgrading.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9116
Dato: 2015-03-11

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