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Maria Proestou, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

Topic: Dealing with the option of wind energy development on the island of Amorgos

Keywords: resilience, robustness, habits, institutions, wind energy


The community of the Greek island of Amorgos has repeatedly rejected wind energy proposals over the last ten years although contemporary politics regards wind farms as a crucial means of pursuing a sustainable future. I study how the Amorgian community judges the option of wind energy development by applying approaches derived from resilience thinking, social psychology, and institutional economics. Based on face-to-face interviews and participant observations, the analysis shows that robustness characterizes the socio-economic system of the Amorgian community. The option of wind energy development disturbs this system by disrupting entrenched habits and established institutions. Unsettling these habits and institutions drives the community to judge the option of wind energy development in the Deweyan sense, thereby enabling the community to cope with the disturbance. In particular, Amorgians resist external large-scale development through a synergy of calculation, reflection and intuition. This means that they estimate costs of and benefits from wind farms, question wind energy development per se, and respond spontaneously to this kind of development path based on their experience. Currently, Greek politics conflicts with the Amorgian habits and institutions, and thus jeopardizes community resilience. It remains to be seen if the Amorgian socio-economic system will depart from robustness and if such a change can ensure sustainability.

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