This chapter examines the uses of academic approaches to history in discussing energy policy. It sets out a case that the value of history is not simply in the past as a source of empirical data on policy and behaviour (which is accessible to any discipline), but a style of synthetic thinking and evaluation particular to the study of History as a disciplines. History may provide analogue situations for current dilemmas, and a long-term view on change, but does not necessarily work in large-scale or long-term phenomena. Rather, it is the blending of perspectives and the assumption of causal complexity, as opposed to methodological and explanatory parsimony, that marks the value of historical approaches. This is exemplified in the history of prediction, asking not whether predictions were accurate (generally they were not), but why demand for them arose and how they were constructed so as to be plausible to actors.
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