Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations: The Sociology and Technology of Energy, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations

The Sociology and Technology of Energy, 1st Edition

By Allan Mazur


248 pages

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Energy is at the top of the list of environmental problems facing industrial society, and is arguably the one that has been handled least successfully, in part because politicians and the public do not understand the physical technologies, while the engineers and industrialists do not understand the societal forces in which they operate. In this book, Allan Mazur, an engineer and a sociologist, explains energy technologies for nontechnical readers and analyses the sociology of energy.

The book gives an overview of energy policy in industrialised countries including analysis of climate change, the development of electricity, forms of renewable energy and public perception of the issues. Energy is a key component to environment policy and to the workings of industrial society. This novel approach to energy technology and policy makes the book an invaluable inter-disciplinary resource for students across a range of subjects, from environmental and engineering policy, to energy technology, public administration, and environmental sociology and economics.


"This book attempts to bridge the gap, explaining technology for non-technical readers and analysing the sociology of energy. As an enigneer and a sociologist, author Allan Mazur is well placed to make this inter-disciplinary analysis." - Real Power Magazine, Issue 36

"Mazur’s Energy and Electricity in Industrial Nations is a resource that scholars at the intersection of energy, environment, and sustainability will use repeatedly… The book is a unique and valuable intellectual melting pot showing us all what sociology and engineering could be if properly united." - Social Studies of Science, Sage, June 2014

"An excellent book for everyone interested in energy-related issues. Summing Up: Highly recommended. " - J Tavakoli, Lafayette College, CHOICE Review September 2014

"Mazur remains cautiously optimistic that at least some of these impediments can be overcome and that some progress toward a sane energy policy can be reached. He concludes with ten "signposts" toward our energy future. These signposts, suggestions really—for example, that we should not foreclose any plausible source of energy, that energy is priced too low in rich countries, and that journalists should be less fearful of calling out blatantly false scientific claims—are eminently reasonable." – Technology and Culture, William J. Hausman, College of William & Mary

"This book is a welcome response to the urgent need for sources that will integrate sociological theory and results with deep technical knowledge of energy systems… it provides some exemplars for thinking about energy systems in sociological terms, and for approaching a move to a sustainable energy future as a social transition." - Daniel Breslau, Virginia Tech

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Big Picture 1. The Agrarian and Industrial Transformations 2. Is the Malthusian Trap Imminent? Are Other Energy Problems More Worrisome? 3. Energy Flow in an Industrial Society 4. Energy, Electricity and Quality of Life Part 2: Energy Sources and Consumption: Using More, and More, and More… 5. Fossil Fuels 6. Non-carbon Sources of Energy 7. Was Growth of Energy and Electricity Usage in Industrial Nations Due More to Population Growth or to Other Causes? Part 3: Electric Power 8. Power Grids 9. America's Three Grids Part 4: Energy Controversies 10. Rationality, Pro and Con 11. The Dynamics of Technical Controversy 12. Mass Media and the Public Part 5: Progress and Regress 13. Attempted Solutions 14. What Next?

About the Author

Allan Mazur, an engineer and a sociologist, is Professor of Public Affairs in the Center for Environmental Policy and Administration at Syracuse University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Environmental / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Electrical
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Power Resources / Fossil Fuels