This paper explores the sociocultural identity debate surrounding coal mining and coal combustion infrastructures in Aragonese coalfields (Spain) to better understand local and individual resistance to energy transition. Adopting the Touraine-Castells sociological perspective and using an interpretive approach and a qualitative research design with in-depth interviews, this article focuses on cultural attributes that give meaning to resistance and project identities under construction. It also explores how resistance identities are linked to climate and energy policies and proposes an analytical framework to understand and to design decarbonisation pathways from resistance identities to project identities. The following conclusions are drawn from this study: a) the sources of meaning supporting current resistance identities are similar to juxtaposed, legitimising coal-phase identities (occupational, class-belonging and community identities), are reactive and founded on coal dependence, solidarity and justice; and b) resistance can only be overcome by a sustainable territorial project with a social base, which is why the adaptive dilemmas of historically coal-reliant mining communities (HCRCs) must be resolved. This research paper demonstrates the need for innovative governance to promote a transformative transition that addresses the sociocultural identities of HCRCs in the design of ecological transition contracts.
Sanz-Hernández, A. (2020). How to change the sources of meaning of resistance identities in historically coal-reliant mining communities. Energy policy, 139, 111353.