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RESEARCH

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO IDENTIFY THE SOCIAL CAPITAL IN THE ROMANIAN DISCOURSES ON THE USE OF ENERGY FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES

Andra Alina BĂLAN, Oana-Ramona ILOVAN, Cosmina-Daniela URSU, Cristina-Georgiana VOICU

pp. 76-101  | Full text (PDF) | DOI: 10.23740/TID220195

The present exploratory study aims to assess if there is any social capital supporting practices regarding the use of energy from renewable sources in Romania. For an effective investigation of the social capital and of the citizens’ cohesion in perceptions and attitudes and their trust in public institutions at the community level the method used was the discourse analysis framed by a case study. The research material consisted of official documents on renewable energy in the European Union and Romania and of Romanians’ opinions on social media (Facebook, YouTube, newspaper articles, blogs, etc.) concerning this topic. As results show, the presence of social capital can be identified from different perspectives within websites, considering both readers’ and viewers’ comments on the topic of renewable energy. By analysing the discourses, a major conclusion can be drawn: social capital can be either an obstacle or opportunity in formulating renewable energy policies and in implementing practices in Romania. On the one hand, the setbacks could be poor information (strictly profit oriented, unsustainable) and the population’s mistrust of state mechanisms, which lead to community splitting, low proactivity and limiting innovation. On the other hand, sharing successful stories and encouraging civic spirit on social websites are manifestations of social capital resulting in an increase in the proactive level of the civil society.