Energy poverty in the Czech Republic : Individual responsibility or structural issue?
|Článek v odborném periodiku
|Časopis / Zdroj
|Energy Research & Social Science
|Fakulta / Pracoviště MU
|Energy poverty; Policy framing; Bureaucracy; The Czech Republic
|Although energy poverty is now high on the EU agenda, pressing member states to adopt targeted policies, there are considerable differences in the state of play across individual countries. In this context, it is worth investigating how this agenda translates into policy. We aim to contribute to this underrepresented strand of research in the energy poverty domain by focusing on the discursive side. This paper starts with the theoretical assumption that bureaucrats are especially important in the initial stages of new policy formation. It further presupposes framing as a process that typically occurs in tackling the complex reality of an emerging policy problem. We have chosen the Czech Republic as a case study as it does not currently have any official energy poverty policies though a working group on the ministerial level has been tasked to define the issue in the Czech context. The research reveals how relevant Czech bureaucrats frame the question of energy poverty. We identify three distinctive frames. Whereas two frames follow the broader ideological debate on poverty (individualizing vs. structural view), the third builds on the concept of vulnerability. None of the frames is clearly predominant. Besides their conflicting views about the causes of energy poverty, responsibilities and policies, there are also disagreements over the appropriate level (national or regional) of governance and a widely held belief that external research actors should shed more light on the issue. The complexity of the discussion may complicate finding a common approach.