From deserving to denied: exploring the social construction of energy excluded citizens

This research critically examines the process of constructing the policy problem of energy exclusion in the Spanish context. Focusing on three case studies of peripheral neighborhoods experiencing extreme energy deprivation, the study adopts a deservingness theory framework to deconstruct the narratives that frame the policy problem and consequently shape policy responses. Using qualitative methods, including qualitative interviews, articles, and policy documents, the research examines the impact of these framings on policy responses to energy exclusion. By analyzing the process of policy problem construction, we explore the fluid boundaries between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ individuals and communities, thereby challenging established narratives in energy support policies. Our findings highlight the ambiguous nature of deservingness, revealing the complex interplay between neighborhood dynamics, policy interventions, and power actors. The article emphasizes the need for a broader understanding of energy deprivation that goes beyond techno-economic perspectives to include spatial and infrastructural factors ​
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