The Social Dynamics of Expectations in the Development of Mitigation Technologies: a Study on the ’ Rise and Fall’ of Vattenfall’s Carbon Capture and Storage Project
The ’sociology of expectations’ has revealed the importance of expectations in technological development processes. Yet little research in this field has focused on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall became a widely recognized leader in the research and development (R&D) of CCS, until it cancelled its CCS R&D in 2014. The aim of this paper is to generate a sociological understanding of the ’rise and fall’ of Vattenfall’s CCS project. It does so by analyzing the project’s embedded social and political issues in general, and the social dynamics of expectations in particular. The analysis focuses on Vattenfall’s ’expectation statements’ on CCS in publicly released texts on the CCS project from 2000–2016. It employs an interpretative ’discourse analysis’ inspired by works within Science and Technology Studies (STS) to analyze the embedded scripts in these expectation statements and the narratives that Vattenfall employed in its ’expectation work’ on CCS. The results show that ’hype-disappointment dynamics’ and ’promiserequirement dynamics’ played an important role in the ’rise and fall’ of the project. They also show how CCS was used as a ’political device’ to legitimize and deflect criticism from Vattenfall’s coal and lignite operations.
sociology of expectations
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Science and Technology Studies (STS)