Social and political inequality as challenges in technology diffusion: Evidence from government-funded improved cookstove program in rural Mexico

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Social Sciences


Envisioning a sustainable world requires not only a transition to sustainable sociotechnical systems (eg, energy, mobility, agriculture), but also a “fundamental change in the structure, culture, practices” (Rotmans and Loorbach, 2010, pp. 108-109) in societies. Such alterations of societal regimes are not easy, and often there is resistance to change as it contests the status quo held in place by dominant actors, structures, and practices of the current regime. Though policies can play a critical role, there is also need to understand societal power dynamics and plan accordingly by understanding how existing power relations can resist or create hindrances in any plans to transition. As one theme of this book is to have a better understanding of the challenges facing environmental policies in the quest for sustainability, this chapter presents a case to show how policy programs for technological transition face inherent problems related to social and political inequality, which affect technology diffusion and ultimately the pursuit of sustainability.

Publisher's Statement

© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Chelsea Schelly and Aparajita Banerjee; individual chapters, the contributors. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Environmental Policy and the Pursuit of Sustainability