Fourth Energy and Society Conference: Energy transitions in a divided world

Midterm conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network 12 – Environment and Society

http://geography.exeter.ac.uk/energyandsociety/

3 – 5 September 2018, University of Exeter, UK

The Energy & Society Conferences have been aiming at inspiring and providing networking opportunities for researchers interested in energy and society issues. Following the success of the three previous conferences, we will now be hosting the fourth conference in Exeter. We hope this can be a great occasion for developing the sense of community that has been emerging from these meetings, as well as from the conferences of the European Sociological Association. In order to provide a lively forum for insightful debates, the conference will include other formats besides keynote presentations and sessions for oral presentations. Participants will also be able to present and discuss their research in roundtables and in poster sessions. The conference will also offer workshops proposed and organized by participants. Moreover, participants are invited to propose informal meetings, which will be announced during the conference. We hope that the social events will also contribute to make this a pleasant and friendly conference.

More information about the venue, accommodation, how to reach the venue, excursions and the other social events to follow soon.

Call for papers

The deadline for the submission of abstracts and workshop proposals is January 15 2018.

Read more about keynote speakers, scientific committee and submission process.

The Energy and Society Network

Find out more about the Network and how to become a member.

AAG 2018 Call for Papers: Renewing accumulation: Strategies and geographies of energy transition

AAG Annual Meeting: NEW ORLEANS 2018, April 10-14, 2018

Session organizers: Ingrid Behrsin (UC Davis), Conor Harrison (University of South Carolina), Sarah Kelly-Richards (University of Arizona), Sarah Knuth (Durham University), James McCarthy (Clark University)

 

Recent work in economic geography and political ecology has analyzed energy transitions as fundamentally geographical processes, ones with the power to transform the capitalist space economy in myriad ways (Bridge et al. 2013). Critical energy geographers have begun to explore how the rapid uptake of solar, wind, hydropower, and other renewable and ‘clean’ energy technologies in recent years is introducing new competition for land and resources and raising a host of environmental and social concerns across a variety of spaces, from rural lands and Indigenous territories to dense urban areas (Bridge et al., 2013; Calvert, 2015; Kelly-Richards et al., 2017; McCarthy, 2015; Huber and McCarthy, 2017). Energy geographers are likewise investigating energy efficiency as another accumulation frontier within today’s energy transition, as established conservation programs intersect with new schemes for making energy efficiency a valuable ‘resource’ within urban real estate markets (Knuth 2016), regional energy portfolios (Thoyre 2015), and smart metering initiatives (Levenda et al. 2015). Energy geographers studying the new accumulation sites and strategies above are increasingly attempting to situate them within broader trajectories of capitalist environmental-economic crisis and resolution, as energy transitions take center stage within the green economy’s imaginary of technological ‘disruption’ and renewal (Knuth 2017) and its promise of socioecological fixes to crisis tendencies (McCarthy 2015).

Electric utilities are key actors in these dynamics, sometimes embracing and sometimes resisting transitions to renewable energy sources. The industry is undergoing a period of tremendous technological change and turmoil across many national and regional contexts. In the face of the falling price of renewable energy, energy efficiency initiatives, and a variety of ‘smart’ technologies, tech firms, energy entrepreneurs and investors, and some policy makers view the industry as ripe for disruption and are deploying new accumulation strategies. With new accumulation strategies come new actors, dynamics, and uncertainties in renewable energy development, as market-based de- and reregulation continues to transform established electric utility regimes and large-scale electric grids. At the same time, these would-be ‘disruptors’ confront obdurate socio-technical systems and entrenched political interests. Many incumbent utilities are attempting to use their amassed political economic strength to withstand changes to accumulation strategies that have changed little since the early 20th century, and are thus investing heavily in centralized natural gas and nuclear generation while undermining distributed energy initiatives at every turn. Meanwhile, the expansion of electric grids is becoming a point of conflict in energy transitions in many developing contexts, as managers struggle to grow centralized transmission and distribution grids capable of handling variable renewable energy generation sources, while new competitors market distributed infrastructural and accumulation alternatives.

In the two paper sessions and associated panel session described below, we seek to explore the ways in which these transformations are unfolding, and being contested, across diverse-but-interconnected geographical and sectoral contexts, ones that present multiple sites for critical analysis and intervention. Our intent is to assemble one paper session focused on the political ecology of renewable energy projects and transitions broadly understood; a second paper session focused on the electric utility industry in the context of those transitions; and a panel session that will integrate the themes of both. We invite papers that build on recent work in economic geography/geographical political economy and political ecology in order to examine the strategies present in the renewable energy and electricity industries to ‘renew’ accumulation, and correspondingly, how these strategies articulate and conflict with existing land uses , territorial logics, and utility industry structures. Potential topics of interest may include:

  • The politics of renewable and ‘clean’ energy planning and deployments:  e.g., what are the techniques and justifications used to plan and legitimate such projects?
  • Displacements and dispossessions associated with planned or enacted renewable energy projects.
  • Flows of investments into the renewable energy sector and specific territories and/or projects.
  • The increasing role of tech firms in the electricity industry.
  • Competing tech paradigms, accumulation strategies, and visions for long-term accumulation.
  • Regulation, deregulation, re-regulation, and the changing structure of utility industries regionally, nationally, and transnationally.
  • Increases in renewable energy generation and land use implications.
  • Utility strategies to resist distributed energy projects in the Global North and South.
  • Material and technological politics (e.g., interactions between renewable energy growth and grid innovations, new proposals for energy efficiency and storage).
  • Conflicts and environmental governance implications of the transition to renewable energy.
  • Contradictions in the private-sector-led development of renewable energy.

 

Please email abstracts of 250 words or less to Sarah Kelly-Richards (shkelly@email.arizona.edu) or Conor Harrison (cmharris@mailbox.sc.edu) by Wednesday, October 25.

Call for sessions: STS Conference Graz, May 7-8, 2018

The STS Conference Graz 2018 is the joint Annual Conference of the Institute of Science, Technology and Society Studies at Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt|Wien|Graz (STS), the Inter-University Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture (IFZ) and the Institute for Advanced Studies on Science, Technology and Society (IAS-STS).

In our Call for Sessions we suggest the following thematic fields (Gender-Technology-Environment, Digitalization of Society, Life Sciences/Biotechnology, Sustainable and Innovative Public Procurement & Ecodesign, Towards Low-Carbon Energy and Mobility Systems, Sustainable Food Systems) and we would like to encourage participants to think outside the box by combining thematic fields and considering intersections: http://www.sts-conference-graz.aau.at.

Sessions do not need to be limited to academic paper presentations. We encourage you to suggest interactive and innovative session formats too, such as discussion groups, slow talks, etc.

Please let us know in case you plan an alternative setting by briefly describing it.

For submitting your session abstract, please use this online form and send an abstract (max. 500 words) no later than October 31, 2017.

Energy Ethnographies: Foregrounding the social, cultural, and political aspects of ‘energy access’ and ‘energy transitions’ in the Global South

Session organizers: Jonathan Balls (University of Melbourne) and Deepti Chatti (Yale University)

Discussant: Gregory Simon (University of Colorado, Denver)

This session calls for papers that draw on ethnographic and other qualitative engagements with energy users in the Global South – centering their experiences, values, politics, preferences, and epistemologies. By examining the everyday entanglements of culture, politics, environment, and society in energy use, this session aims to explore how the insights from critical qualitative social sciences can enrich our current understanding of energy access and energy transitions in developing countries.

In the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) initiative, scholars and practitioners alike have turned their focus to ‘energy access’ and ‘energy transitions’. The extension of energy services such as electricity and ‘clean’ cooking energy to low income households in the Global South is broadly described under the rubric of ‘expanding energy access’, while the substitution of currently used technologies in favour of ‘modern’ renewable energy services is broadly described under the umbrella of ‘energy transitions’. Both these terms have attracted theoretical attention by critical geographers and allied scholars. In recent years, researchers have focused extensively on decentralized energy infrastructures and programs – such as for off-grid solar power, or improved cookstoves – highlighting their promise for extending energy access, and their role in energy transitions (Bailis et al., 2009, Cross 2013, Simon et al., 2014). Additionally, researchers have looked at centralized infrastructure to reach energy users who were previously unserved (Dabadge et al., 2016). Much of the existing literature is concerned with the technical, financial, and economic aspects of efforts to extend energy access or to facilitate the diffusion of energy technologies. When attention is paid to energy users, it is typically through survey based empirical studies, focusing on technological or economical aspects.

In parallel, there is a growing recognition by socio-cultural anthropologists of the importance of understanding the cultures and politics of infrastructure (Larkin 2013, Kale 2014, Anand 2017). Energy infrastructures are worthy of social, cultural, and political study in addition to being objects of enquiry from a technological and economic lens. Infrastructures entail newly negotiated relationships between state actors, businesses, civil society actors, and energy users (Button, 2017; Meehan, 2014). With new energy infrastructures comes new knowledge, practices, and cultures (Strauss et al., 2016, Gupta, 2015, Kumar, 2015). New technologies can reinforce existing socio-political hierarchies, or upset them (Jacobson, 2007). Ethnographic studies that focus on users and the seemingly ordinary or mundane everyday uses of energy can bring rich empirical insights on how energy access and transitions are unfolding (Chatti et al., 2017). This scholarship can improve our understanding on how energy technologies, infrastructures, and programs are mediated, shaped, and accommodated, while simultaneously paying close attention to how lives are changed to accommodate new forms of infrastructures.

This session invites participants to present research conducted with energy users in the developing world to explore the social, cultural, and political dimensions of ‘energy access’ and ‘energy transitions’. While we hope to center ethnographic and deep qualitative research, we welcome a broad range of scholarly engagements that foreground the social, cultural, and political aspects of energy use.

Potential paper themes could include, but are not limited to:

  • How is the use of energy mediated by cultures, politics, and practices, and how does this relate with our current understanding of ‘energy access’, and ‘energy transitions’?
  • What insights are gained from ethnographic studies that center the experiences and practices of users?
  • How are accounts that detail the politics and governance of decentralised energy infrastructures, and emergent relationships between government actors, businesses, civil society, and users enriching understandings of energy transitions in the developing world?
  • How are contestations over technical and economic aspects of energy infrastructure negotiated? How does this affect the end user?

Please email paper titles and 250 word abstracts to Jonathan Balls (jonathan.balls@unimelb.edu.au) and Deepti Chatti (deepti.chatti@yale.edu) by October 15, 2017. Potential panelists will need to register for the AAG by October 25, 2017, and submit their abstracts directly.

 

References:

Anand, Nikhil. 2017. Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai. Duke University Press.

Bailis, Rob, et al. 2009. “Arresting the killer in the kitchen: the promises and pitfalls of commercializing improved cookstoves.” World Development 37 10: 1694-1705.

Button, C. 2017. The co-production of a constant water supply in Mumbai’s middle-class apartments. Urban Research & Practice, 10, 102-119.

Chatti, D., Archer, M., Lennon, M. & Dove, M. R. 2017. Exploring the mundane: Towards an ethnographic approach to bioenergy. Energy Research & Social Science, 30, 28-34.

Cross, Jamie. 2013. “The 100th object: Solar lighting technology and humanitarian goods.” Journal of Material Culture 18 4: 367-387.

Dabadge, Ashwini, et al., “From LPG Connections to Use: Realising Smokeless Kitchens for All” Economic and Political Weekly, Vol L1 No. 16, April 16, 2016.

Gupta, Akhil. 2015. ‘An Anthropology of Electricity from the Global South’. Cultural Anthropology, 30, 555-568.

Kale, Sunila S. 2014. Electrifying India: regional political economies of development. Stanford University Press.

Kumar, Ankit. 2015. ‘Cultures of lights’. Geoforum, 65, 59-68.

Jacobson, A. 2007. Connective power: Solar electrification and social change in Kenya. World Development, 35, 144-162.

Larkin, Brian. 2013. “The politics and poetics of infrastructure.” Annual Review of Anthropology 42: 327-343.

Matinga, Margaret Nijrambo. 2010. “We grow up with it”: an ethnographic study of the experiences, perceptions and responses to the health impacts of energy acquisition and use in rural South Africa. University of Twente.

Meehan, K. M. 2014. ‘Tool-power: Water infrastructure as wellsprings of state power’. Geoforum, 57, 215-224.

Simon, Gregory L., et al. 2014. “Current debates and future research needs in the clean cookstove sector.” Energy for Sustainable Development 20: 49-57.

Strauss, Sarah, Stephanie Rupp, and Thomas Love, eds. 2016. Cultures of energy: power, practices, technologies. Routledge.

SHAPE ENERGY Research Design Challenge

Control, Change and Capacity-Building in Energy Systems

European and worldwide energy policy and research are largely influenced by knowledge and disciplines from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Yet the challenges energy transitions entail concern social patterns as well, like individual or organisational behaviour and their management. These issues are covered by energy-related Social Sciences and Humanities (energy-SSH) disciplines. In fact, according to the European Commission (EC) Horizon2020 work programme on energy, knowledge from numerous fields of research is necessary to realise the ambitious goals of energy transitions concerning emissions reductions, renewable energy shares and the concomitant changes in social organisation. In what ways different energy-SSH disciplines design a research challenge related to overarching energy research problems is the objective of this call. Ultimately, it aims at inferring consequences for multi- and interdisciplinary energy-SSH research that serves both the academic and energy policy community.

Therefore, the SHAPE ENERGY platform, represented herein by the partner institution Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), invites European SSH researchers to take part in our ‘Research Design Challenge’. This challenge contains three sub-challenges framed as social science research problems on energy relating to control, change and capacity-building in energy systems (see below). The Research Design Challenge is an attempt to deepen our understanding of interdisciplinarity by analysing how different social sciences and humanities disciplines research the same scientific problem. Across multiple SSH disciplines, up to 15 teams of at least 2 researchers from at least 2 European countries will be selected and funded with up to 2.500 Euros to foster collaboration (funded to cover travel to meet up). In the wake of current EC initiatives, applications to this call for abstracts could be, among others, appealing for researchers who plan on follow-up applications with H2020 or EU-related programmes like COST or Marie Skłodowska-Curie, for instance. We seek your application for an eventual 3.000-4.000 words paper on one of these challenges if you are researching in one of the following SSH disciplines: Business; Communication Studies; Criminology; Demography; Development; Economics; Environmental social science; Education; Gender; History; Human geography; Law; Linguistics/languages; Philosophy; Planning (architecture); Politics; Psychology; Science/tech studies; Sociology; Social anthropology; Social innovation; Social policy; Theology. However we note that it is fine to include SSH disciplines from outside this list.  

 THE CHALLENGE(S)

For the Research Design Challenge, we are interested in your theories, methods and approaches to an energy related research problem from your disciplinary point of view (see list above to qualify). The prerequisite is that you find at least one more partner (individual[s] from European academic institution[s]) from a different European country (H2020 eligible countries) to collaborate on the challenge. The challenge itself is kept relatively general in order for many potential researches being able to connect to it. They relate to the overarching research problems of control, change and capacity-building in energy systems from a social science and humanities perspective (concept and concomitant challenges based on: Büscher/Sumpf 2015, see website download for details). Please consider the following three sub-challenges to relate to:

  • Challenge A:  From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of control in future energy systems? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?
  • Challenge B:  From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of stability and change toward future energy systems? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?
  • Challenge C: From your (disciplinary) point of view, how would you approach the (research and real-world) problem of capacity-building, i.e. fostering the actions necessary to realise consumer involvement? What theories and methods would you apply to research this problem? What approaches would you suggest to act upon this problem?

 Deadline for applications is October 6th, 2017. Please send your application and any questions prior to submission to Patrick Sumpf, ITAS/KIT, Germany (sumpf@kit.edu).

 

Eligibility: Please note that each abstract submission must include at least two collaborators, covering between them a single or multiple academic disciplines, and at least two Horizon 2020 eligible countries.

 Further details are available here, including elaborate details on the challenges, an indicative timeline, full information on eligibility, and funding guidelines. Note also that the Research Design Challenges will be published online (open access), and that once completed the Collection will be submitted to the EC’s strategy unit for energy research and innovation.

CFP – Book on Energy Politics (EASA book series – Berghahn)

Dear Colleagues,

We are looking for contributors to submit abstracts to be included in a book proposal on Energopolitics for the Berghahn EASA book series. 

The edited volume aims to compile cases and analysis dealing with contemporary arrangements of energy infrastructures and political power. We believe that the current transformations of energy systems and policy frameworks offer promising prospects to revisit some of the classic notions of power and politics through the lens of energy infrastructures. Dominique Boyer has underlined the opportunity to rethink Foucault’s theory of power in the light of energy: “there could have been no consolidation of any regime of modern biopower without a parallel securitization of energy provision and synchronization of energy discourse. In this respect, biopower has always been plugged in” (Boyer, 2014:327). Other conceptions of modern politics would also deserve reconsideration, interrogating the entanglements between energy materialities and political power: 

  • State violence and governmentality
  • Statecraft and political ordering
  • Citizenship and collective action,
  • Local governance and politics,
  • Labor struggles within the energy industry,
  • Regional integration and geopolitics,
  • Expert knowledge and depoliticisation, etc.

As an expression of interest, you will find below a suggestion of topics that we would like to address in the book. Abstracts of max. 500 words should be sent to tristan.loloum@durham.ac.uk ; nathalie.ortar@entpe.fr ; simone.abram@durham.ac.uk by Friday 30th June. Please include contact details with the abstract. In the case of acceptance, full papers will be expected by Friday 29th September.

Looking forward for your valuable contribution.

 Kind regards,

Simone Abram, Nathalie Ortar, Tristan Loloum


ENERGOPOLITICS 

CITIZENSHIP, GOVERNMENTALITY AND VIOLENCE ALONG THE GRID 

Editors: Simone ABRAM, Tristan LOLOUM, Nathalie ORTAR

Energy citizenships. The current transformations of energy systems have prompted new discussions among social scientists about power infrastructures as forms and supports of political expression. The evidence of climate change, the development of renewables and the governmental engagements toward an energy transition have created new spaces for resistance, participation and innovation. These emerging energy citizenships include concerns for off-grid systems, the setting up of community renewable energy projects, collective ownership and alternative funding of power infrastructures, equity and justice in energy access, climate change, policies and protests over (non-)renewables, “smart” technologies, etc. While allegedly “empowering” consumers within competitive energy markets, the liberalization of gas and electricity sectors is also dispossessing the State from important prerogatives and strengthening private energy actors. The emergence of decentralized energy and off-grid systems, as substitutes for centralized grids, is not only an engineering challenge but also an organizational one. As electric grids tend to become less “national” and less “centralized”, aren’t they generating more social differentiation?  How do decentralized energy and off-grid initiatives affect local governance, political identities and regional integration?

Energy statecraft. A political anthropology of energy assumes that power infrastructures are pivots for socio-political inquiry, as they have the capacity to “create, destroy, expand or limit the contours of what we call the state” (Meehan, 2014: 2016). In Carbon Democracy, Timothy Mitchell described, for instance, how the late 19th century labor reforms depended on the coal industry and its concentration of unionized workers; how Keynesian welfarism was sustained by an oil-shaped faith in the endless growth of national economies; and how neoliberal politics arose in great part from the brutal disruption of growth caused by the oil shocks of the 1970s. In doing so, he reminds us how statecraft is dependent on systems of energy production.

Energy knowledge. Not only is energy at the core of many economic interests, geopolitical struggles and international relations, it is also central to modernist ideologies and neoliberal narratives. The evolutionist idea that “cultural development varies directly as the amount of energy per capita per year harnessed and put to work” (White, 1943: 338) is deeply rooted in western imaginaries. Electrification is still promoted (e.g. by the UN) as a prerequisite to access both modernity and global markets (Labban, 2012). Energy relies on powerful belief systems and expert knowledge. The expansion of electric grids has often been depicted as an “inevitable” movement by energy experts (Nader, 2004: 775), only limited by technical problems and economic constraints. The practice of “rendering technical” (Li, 2007) has long been essential in the techno-scientific governance of energy, but the disruption of oil shocks, nuclear accidents and climate change have eroded  faith in modern expertise, while the development of renewable energies has shown that new paths of development remain possible. A political anthropology of energy must therefore “analyze the culture of energy experts, enhance knowledge about how people understand and experience energy, and document small renewable energy successes” (Clarke, 2015: 215).

Energy governmentality. Following Boyer (2014) (following Foucault 1978) , the political power behind energy systems – what he calls “energopower” – relies on a mixture of material infrastructures, institutions and discourses of truth. The work of Douglas Rogers (2014) on “social and cultural projects” accomplished under the banner of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) by the Russian oil-company Lukoil illustrates how energy providers are increasingly solicited to fulfill political missions. Energopolitics refers not only to the capacity of energy corporations to shape basic infrastructures and legal frameworks, but also their involvement in activities of knowledge production, social care and cultural sponsorship. In postcolonial contexts, modern governance of energy resources is often tangled with more direct and authoritarian forms of power. So energopower, as Raminder Kaur argues, should be qualified, from Foucauldian notions of soft power and “governmentality” to what she calls the “necropolitics” or “raw politics of energy” (Kaur, 2013).

References

Boyer, D. (2014) Energopower: an introduction. Anthropological Quarterly 87(2): 309-333.

Clarke, Mari H. (2015) Interrogating Power: Engaged Energy Anthropology, Reviews in Anthropology, 44:4, 202-224, DOI: 10.1080/00938157.2015.1116325

Foucault, Michel. 1978. The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: The Will to Knowledge. London: Penguin.

Kaur, Raminder 2013 ‘Sovereignty without Hegemony, the Nuclear State and a “Secret Public Hearing” in India’, Theory, Culture and Society, May 2013, 20(3).

Labban, M. (2012) Preempting possibility: critical assessment of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010. Development and Change 43(1): 375-393.

Li, T. M. (2007) The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics. Durham: Duke University Press.

Meehan, K. (2014) Tool-power: Water infrastructure as well springs of state power. Geoforum, 57: 25-224.

Mitchell, T. (2011) Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil. London: Verso Books.

Nader, L. 2004. “The Harder Path—Shifting Gears.” Anthropological Quarterly 77(4):771-791.

Rogers, Douglas. 2014. “Energopolitical Russia: corporation, state, and the rise of social and cultural projects”. Anthropological Quarterly. 87 (2): 431-452.

White, Leslie. 1943. “Energy and the Evolution of Culture.” American Anthropologist 45(3):335-356.

 

 

CFP for ERSS: Problems of method in the social study of energy and climate change

CFP for Energy Research and Social Science

https://www.journals.elsevier.com/energy-research-and-social-science/call-for-papers/problems-of-method-in-the-social-study-of-energy-and-climate 

Edited by James Goodman and Jonathan Paul Marshall, University of Technology Sydney

Energy and climate change are intimately related, as the main causes of climate change have to do with the production, politics, organisation and technology of energy. Social processes, rooted in prevailing models of capitalism and development, and the associated patterns of energyproduction and use, are altering world ecology and society. Researching questions of energy transition and climate change, poses profound questions for the methods of both social science and energy research.

This Special Issue aims to explore insights arising from how we go about researching energy and climate change from a social perspective. The questions and dilemmas that arise during research are both significant in themselves, and highly revealing of wider issues. Consequently we ask contributors to begin with their direct experience of undertaking research into the social aspects of energy and climate, and to use that experience, and the problems of method evoked, to explore the conundrums we face as part of a wider society being transformed by climate change and related forms of social action.

There are several matters which immediately call for attention:

  1. There are questions about the role of interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary or multi-methods research in grappling with interwoven socio-ecological contexts and their different knowledges;
  2. The extent to which climate and energy research necessarily engages with normative priorities and agendas for political agency, such as the politicization of knowledge;
  3. The degree to which the abstracted and distanced character of climate change creates conflicts between levels and aspects of social action.

There are also more practical issues such as:

  1. How to combine ecological processes with social processes;
  2. How to relate the qualitative experience of climate change with the quantitative ‘big data’ of climate science; and
  3. Problems of how to build methods of data collection and analysis in complex, multileveled situations.

This list of possible concerns is not meant to be exhaustive, but all these concerns engage, in one way or another, with the wider methodological and epistemological questions of how social scientists can bring the socio-ecological imagination to bear, to address the political relations between energy and climate change, and be sensitive to the consequences of the tools they employ. We are interested in papers from all kinds of social and cross-disciplinary research, including anthropology, economics, social psychology, political economy, statistical sociology, political science, cultural studies, social ecology, human geography, social studies of science and their various combinations.

Ideally papers would show how issues of method or methodology transformed a particular empirical study and opened insights into the nature of the social, and other, dynamics involved.

Time Table

Abstracts to be in by August 1st, 2017. Notification of acceptance by August 15th, 2017.

Papers due by November 1st, 2017, or earlier.

Final decision: June 1st, 2018.

Publication around July, 2018.

 

Please send abstracts to: jon.marshall@uts.edu.au & james.goodman@uts.edu.au

Call for Abstracts: 2nd Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovation Symposium (RERIS) 2018

2nd Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovation Symposium (RERIS) 2018

23-27 January 2018, National University of Lesotho

On occasion of NULSTICE 2018

 

Background

With more than 600 million Africans living without access to electricity and over 730 million relying on dangerous, inefficient forms of cooking, fast but sustainable development of African renewable energy markets is needed. Applied research and innovative business roll-outs play a key role in boosting this development, helping to secure energy supply in both rural and urban areas, increase generation capacities and energy system resilience. In March 2016, the RECP organized the first Africa-EU Renewable Energy Research and Innovation Symposium (RERIS 2016) in Tlemcen, Algeria. Attended by 135 participants from 30 countries, the symposium was a big step towards better research cooperation for renewable energy on and between the two continents.

 

Symposium scope and objectives

Based on the outcomes of the first symposium, the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) and the National University of Lesotho (NUL) are jointly organising the second Africa-EU Symposium on Renewable Energy Research and Innovation (RERIS 2018) from 23–27 January 2018 in Maseru, Lesotho. The symposium will take place on the occasion of the NUL International Science and Technology Innovation Conference and Expo (NULSTICE 2018).

The objectives of the research symposium are to

  • Facilitate Africa-EU renewable energy research collaboration
  • Increase public and private sector participation in renewable energy research
  • Build capacities for applied research and promote university business spin-offs

A call for abstracts is preceding the symposium, targeting researchers from Africa and Europe involved in research or business roll-outs on the following topics:

  • Grid connected renewable energy
  • Decentralised renewable and household energy solutions
  • Energy socioeconomics (e.g. policy, economics, legal, regulatory and social issues)
  • Promotion of energy research, innovation, education and entrepreneurship

For more info on the symposium and call for abstracts, visit http://www.nulistice.org.ls/

Symposium organisers and partners (tbc) 

  • LCEDN (Low Carbon Energy for Development Network)
  • Micro Energy International
  • PAU (Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences)
  • RECP (Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme)
  • UniPID (Finnish University Partnership for International Development)

 

Symposium committee

Conference chair

  • Dr Moeketsi Mpholo, Energy Research Centre (ERC) / National University of Lesotho (NUL)

Scientific committee

  • Benmansour Abdelhalim, Université Aboubekr Belkaid de Tlemcen, Algeria
  • Venkata Ramayya Ancha, Jimma University, Ethiopia
  • Dr Ed Brown, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
  • Thameur Chaibi, National Research Institute for Rural Engineering, Water and Forestry, Tunisia
  • Seladji Chakib, Université Aboubekr Belkaid de Tlemcen, Algeria
  • Dr Zivaye Chiguvare, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia
  • Emanuela Colombo, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
  • Abdellah Khellaf, Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelables, Algeria
  • Izael Pereira Da Silva, Strathmore University, Kenya
  • Daniel  Egbe, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
  • Thomas Hamacher, Technische Universität München, Germany
  • Angeles López Agüera, UNESCO-CLRLA / Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Martin Meyer-Renschhausen, Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany tbc
  • Dr Joseph Mutale, University of Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Wikus van Niekerk, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Armando C. Oliveira, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Marco Rupprich, MCI – The Entrepreneurial School®, Austria
  • Wim Sinke, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands tbc
  • Abdelilah Slaoui, University of Strasbourg, France
  • Anthony Staak, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa tbc
  • Dr Dirk Steuerwald, Swiss Academy for Development, Switzerland
  • Dr Sandor Szabo, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Italy
  • Dr Zak Thamae, National University of Lesotho (NUL), Lesotho
  • Dr Daniel Yamegueu, International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE), Burkina Faso
  • Abdellatif Zerga, Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES), Algeria

Organising committee

  • Niklas Hayek, Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP)
  • Himanshu Narayan, National University of Lesotho (NUL)
  • Dr Thimothy Thamae, National University of Lesotho (NUL)

 

CFP: Les transitions dans l’histoire de l’énergie – état des lieux et nouvelles perspectives

Colloque

29 novembre – 1 décembre (Milan, Italie)

RÉSUMÉ

La transition est aujourd’hui un paradigme dominant dans l’énoncé des politiques publiques et des stratégies privées liées à l’énergie. Acteurs publics, entreprises, associations, mais aussi chercheurs s’inscrivent chaque jour davantage dans l’horizon d’une transition énergétique à mener et à penser comme une transformation graduelle des moyens de production et des usages. Dans ce contexte, les historiens sont interpelés sur la question des transitions énergétiques passées : y a-t-il eu des transitions énergétiques dans le passé, et si oui que nous apprennent-elles qui pourrait être utile au présent ?

Argumentaire

La transition est aujourd’hui un paradigme dominant dans l’énoncé des politiques publiques et des stratégies privées liées à l’énergie. Acteurs publics, entreprises, associations, mais aussi chercheurs s’inscrivent chaque jour davantage dans l’horizon d’une transition énergétique à mener et à penser comme une transformation graduelle des moyens de production et des usages. Dans ce contexte, les historiens sont interpelés sur la question des transitions énergétiques passées : y a-t-il eu des transitions énergétiques dans le passé, et si oui que nous apprennent-elles qui pourrait être utile au présent ? Face à cette question et aux premières réponses apportées, s’en pose immédiatement une autre : les historiens ne sont-ils pas, comme l’ensemble des acteurs, victimes de la plasticité de cette notion, parlant tous de transition sans y mettre le même contenu ? Cet objet a-t-il seulement un sens du point de vue de l’histoire ?

Le colloque « Les transitions dans l’histoire de l’énergie » entend dresser un état des lieux et interroger les perspectives sur la recherche historique en matière de transition énergétique. Dans quelles directions sont allées les recherches sur la ou les transitions énergétiques, depuis l’ouvrage magistral Technique et civilisation (1934; 1950 pour la traduction française) de Lewis Mumford, qui assignait déjà un rôle majeur à la production et à l’utilisation de l’énergie pour définir trois phases de rapport de l’homme à la machine ? Que reste-t-il à connaître du passé des transitions énergétiques ? Peut-on se contenter de ce paradigme ou convient-il de le dépasser ?

Le colloque portera une attention particulière à la question des archives, matière première des historiens. Dans quelle mesure et de quelle manière la perspective actuelle de la transition rejailli-t-elle sur les archives et la politique d’archivage des entreprises du secteur énergétique notamment ? Les professionnels concernés sont encouragés à participer à cette réflexion fondamentale pour l’avenir de l’histoire des transitions énergétiques.

Le colloque permettra de préparer un numéro spécial de la Revue d’histoire de l’énergie.

Modalités de candidature

Les candidats devront envoyer un titre, un résumé de leur présentation accompagné d’un cv d’une page maximum aux deux adresses suivantes : giovanni.paoloni@uniroma1.it et comite.histoire.electricite@gmail.com

Langues acceptées : italien, français, anglais.

Les candidatures pourront être envoyées jusqu’au 25 juin 2017.

Sélection

Elles seront soumises aux membres du comité scientifique :

  • Alain Beltran, CNRS Sirice ;
  • Christophe Bouneau, Université Bordeaux Montaigne ;
  • Yves Bouvier, Université Paris Sorbonne ;
  • Paolo Brenni, CNR ; Anna Guagnini, Università di Bologna ;
  • Sandra Holgado, EDF Archives ;
  • Giovanni Paoloni, Università La Sapienza ;
  • Laura Ronzon, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia « Leonardo da Vinci » ;
  • Luciana Tasselli, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia « Leonardo da Vinci » ;
  • Jean-Pierre Williot, Université de Tours ;
  • Sergio Zannella, Edison.

Les candidats seront informés du résultat au plus tard le 1er juillet 2017.

Prise en charge

Les frais de transport sont à la charge des participants. Les frais de séjour sont couverts par les organisateurs.

Contacts : giovanni.paoloni@uniroma1.it et comite.histoire.electricite@gmail.com

Organisation

Comité d’Histoire de l’Électricité et de l’Énergie de la Fondation Groupe EDF, avec la collaboration du Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia « Leonardo da Vinci », et l’Università La Sapienza.

Lieux

  • Edison, Sala azionisti – Foro Buonaparte 31
    Milan, Italie (20121)

Mots-clés

  • énergie, historiographie, transition, électricité, pétrole, gaz, charbon, renouvelable

Contacts

  • Giovanni Paoloni
    courriel : giovanni [dot] paoloni [at] uniroma1 [dot] it
  • Léonard Laborie
    courriel : comite [dot] histoire [dot] electricite [at] gmail [dot] com

 

Source:

« Les transitions dans l’histoire de l’énergie : état des lieux et nouvelles perspectives », Appel à contribution,  Calenda, Publié le mardi 09 mai 2017, http://calenda.org/404295

Call for evidence – Help shaping European energy policy

SHAPE ENERGY Call for Evidence

SHAPE ENERGY – Social sciences and Humanities for Advancing Policy in European Energy – represents a new €2m European platform for energy-related social sciences and humanities (energy-SSH) research. Energy-SSH has played less of a role to date in shaping European energy policy than Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and, as such, the SHAPE ENERGY platform aims to develop Europe’s expertise in using and applying energy-SSH. SHAPE ENERGY directly feeds into the work of the European Commission’s strategy unit with responsibility for energy research and innovation.

 

The two-year SHAPE ENERGY project began in February 2017 and is coordinated by Anglia Ruskin University (UK). As part of its initial scoping work, it has just launched a Call for Evidence aiming to identify current understandings and future priorities for energy research from a wide range of research, policy and practitioner communities across Europe. As such, this call is not solely intended for energy-SSH researchers; we are keen to engage with energy-STEM and non-energy-SSH researchers – as well as those from policy, industry, NGOs and beyond – who may want to utilise energy-SSH research in the future.

 

This call is intentionally designed to be easy to do (only four core questions, 5-10mins). Responses will be anonymised and made publicly available free-of-charge in summer 2017 (via www.shapeenergy.eu – not yet launched). There will also be an accompanying SHAPE ENERGY reflective summary, on the basis of those responses.

 

Please respond here: https://goo.gl/forms/AL0Zsmsc4fvhVlzg2

CFP: The Material Realities of Energy Histories – Canadian Journal of History

The Material Realities of Energy Histories
A Call for Proposals for a Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire (CJH/ACH)

The appropriation and control of the flow of energy from the sun and stocks of energy stored beneath the surface of the Earth influenced changes to human societies in the past. Ideology, cultural norms, scientific knowledge, and technology informed how people used energy, and the use of energy transformed relationships between people, and between humans and the natural world. Over time, people devised more efficient ways of harnessing and directing energy, while at the same time breaking the constraints of older patterns of use by adopting new energy sources and fuels. And despite moments of scarcity or crisis, the scale of energy used by humans has always tended toward ever-greater amounts.

Energy history has grown considerably from a largely overlooked sub-field to an important and relevant line
of historical enquiry. Responding to the realization that human energy use has been directly responsible
for monumental social, cultural, political, economic, and environmental changes, such as industrialization, urbanization, global warming, and the onset of the Anthropocene, historians have begun to embrace the need to understand better how energy structured human societies.

The Canadian Journal of History/Annales canadiennes d’histoire is pleased to welcome abstracts of articles for a special issue on energy history. The proposed essays should explore topics that address the transnational dimensions and multiple scales of the material realities and environmental consequences of energy production, distribution, and consumption in any time period. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit full article manuscripts for double-blind peer review.

Possible themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • energy sources/fuels/commodities
  • energy networks/infrastructure
  • efforts to connect sites of energy production and consumption
  • industrialization, urbanization, transportation, resource development, agriculture
  • energy abundance/scarcity
  • energy justice/inequality
  • energy regimes/transitions
  • households/consumer culture
  • transformations of environment/landscape

Those interested should send a 250-300 word abstract by 2 June 2017 to the attention of guest editor Andrew Watson (cjh@usask.ca). Invited authors will be asked to submit a full article manuscript for peer review by 15 September 2017.

cfp: Climate Change, Decarbonization and the Urban Energy Transition

University of Hamburg, Germany

October 12-13, 2017

 

The workshop is aiming for developing key concepts and synthesizing the state of the art of urban transformation processes in relation to climate change, decarbonization and energy transition. Thematically the workshop is motivated by the worldwide growing urbanization which leads to a spatial concentration of population, economic activity and mobility on the one hand and by increasing CO2 emissions and climate change on the other. In order to promote pathways towards urban energy transition and decarbonization several strategies should be considered. Among those, the production, distribution and consumption of renewable energy are relevant key areas. There is still a lack of systematic integration of concepts, models and empirical evidence, combined with an insufficient knowledge base and a broad range of uncoordinated and dispersed solutions.

The workshop focuses on developing and integrating concepts and tools of sustainable urban energy landscapes and transformation, particularly renewable energy and low-carbon pathways. Furthermore, the workshop contributes to evidence-based strategies and experiences for climate and energy policies on the urban scale. Four research areas will be addressed (For details, please visit the workshop website and the call in pdf, the links are provided below):

1) Socio-technical and environmental topics of urban energy transition
2) City structure, urban land use and energy consumption
3) Distributional effects of urban energy policies
4) Multi-level models and governance concepts to manage transition processes

Invited Speakers:
Derk Loorbach
Janette Webb
Jochen Monstadt
Jonathan Rutherford
Sergio Tirado Herero
Stefan Bouzarovski

Intended post-workshop publication: Edited volume of contributions or a special issue in a journal

Please submit your abstract (300 to 500 words) focusing on one of the above areas to the workshop coordinator Ms. Ting Ting Tracy Cheung (Email: ting.ting.cheung@uni-hamburg.de) by Wednesday, 31st May 2017.

For more information, please visit our website and read the call in pdf.
Call for papers:
https://www.clisap.de/fileadmin/B-Research/B/B5/Workshops/CfP_Climate_Change__Decarbonization_and_the_Urban_Energy_Transition.pdf

Conference webpage:
https://www.clisap.de/research/b:-climate-manifestations-and-impacts/b5:-urban-systems-test-bed-hamburg/workshop-climate-change-decarbonization-and-the-urban-energy-transition-2017/

cfp: 10th annual NNC conference and PhD course

Environmental Asia, November 20–24, 2017, Oslo, Norway.

IKOS – Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages,

Oslo University and NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies

Global environmental degradation and climate change are possibly the greatest challenges of our times. They have roots in humanity’s long history of creatively making use of natural resources to generate change, often with unforeseen and unpredictable consequences. As the gravity of the world economy shifts east, Asia finds itself at the center of the global environmental crisis. It is home not just to 60 percent of the world’s population, but also to some of the world’s most rapidly expanding middle classes in the largest emerging economies. As a consequence of climate change, Asia is already feeling the social and economic impact of intensified droughts, floods, storms and pollution.

The aim of this conference is to facilitate critical discussions about Asia’s environmental pathways. What interests are at stake in current environmental policies, and who represents them? How will Asian societies deal with the double-bind of economic development and environmental protection? What roles do Asian religions and philosophies play in environmental debates? How have people reacted to and coped with major environmental changes in the past, and how do they anticipate the future? By exploring these questions, the conference aspires to promote a deeper understanding of environmental change in Asia.

Energy in Asia

How energy is produced, transmitted and consumed can have immense cultural, social, political and environmental consequences. A long-term structural change in energy systems towards increasing use of renewable energy sources – the so called ‘Energy transition’ seems inevitable to tackle contemporary global and local environmental challenges. Simultaneously, a considerable portion of Asia’s population lack access to adequate energy, resulting in health deprivation, poverty and social inequality. As the world’s most populous region, the complexities of energy in Asia are in need of further exploration that moves beyond conventional technical and economic factors. We are looking for panelists from the Social Sciences, Humanities or Inter-disciplinary Studies that are interested in exploring these issues across Asia.

Keynote Speakers

  • Georgina Drew, Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies, The University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Susan Darlington, Professor, Anthropology and Asian Studies, Hampshire College, USA
  • Heiner Roetz, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Commentators for the PhD Course

  • Susan Darlington, Professor, Anthropology and Asian Studies, Hampshire College
  • Heiner Roetz, Professor, Department of East Asian Studies, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Georgina Drew, Lecturer, Anthropology and Development Studies, The University of Adelaide
  • Geir Helgesen, Director, NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
  • Mette Halskov Hansen, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Arild Engelsen Ruud, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Aike Peter Rots, Associate Professor, University of Oslo
  • Rune Svaverud, Professor, University of Oslo
  • Kenneth Bo Nielsen, Researcher and Network Coordinator, University of Oslo

 

Deadline for submitting abstract 15 August 2017 (maximum 300 words) For more information, please go to the conference website: www.environmental-asia.com<http://www.environmental-asia.com/>

cfp: Nuclear Waste and its Side-Effects – Interdisciplinary Conference 2017

ENTRIA 2017 conference

Interdisciplinary Research on Radioactive Waste: Ethics – Society – Technology

Braunschweig, Germany:  26th – 28th September 2017

Submission deadline: April 15th 2017.

The planned sessions will cover:

  • Substantiating the German Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) Pathway: Time Frames, Technical and Procedural Issues
    The topic is meant to provide scientific support for further specifying details of the pathway “final disposal with reversibility” not yet defined in the recommendations by the German “Endlagerkommission”. Examples include timeframes for the several stages (e.g. “monitoring in advance to closure of the repository”), recoverability requirements, or participation issues.
  • Experiences in Interdisciplinary Cooperation: Methods, Challenges, Outcome
    Scientific cooperation in interdisciplinary research projects is challenging. There are only few books, journals and reports on the subject. The topic focusses on experiences in interdisciplinary cooperation between natural and technical scientists and researchers in social sciences and humanities.
  • Technical Barriers in Radioactive Waste Storage and Disposal
    All storage and disposal options for radioactive residues need a bundle of reliable technical barriers for all considered time steps. This session addresses scientists and engineers dealing with long term performance prediction and testing, structural analysis or generic design of these barriers.
  • Governance & Participation
    New Governance with early modes of public participation and integration of stakeholders has been a promising approach in the last decade, especially in contested policy fields. In the case of critical infrastructures like nuclear waste disposal sites the potential for human intrusion and the uncontrolled distribution of radionuclides was scandalized by NGOs, pressure groups of the anti-nukes movement and a number of political parties. Governmental organizations and international institutions were willing to integrate the interested public in decision-making, e.g. in Switzerland, Sweden and in the last years also in Germany. In this section the theoretic and conceptual aspects of governance in nuclear waste management and the embeddedness of conflicts at concretes sites are discussed. Further, experiences with participation in the context of radioactive waste management in specific countries are addressed. Results from interdisciplinary research and also empirical case studies are welcome.
  • Governance & Monitoring
    Critical infrastructures, which are built to ensure the safety and security of e.g. dangerous wastes, need to be at the center of attention of governmental regulation and authorities. If the protection of human health and the environment as much as the ethical question of a “Good Life” for current society and for future generations are considered a societal aim, the state and its agencies have to build confidence, with the often very concerned public through robust management programs and public dialogue. A screening of the state of the art for long-term monitoring and robust institutions in scientific literature on dangerous wastes showed that plans for technological monitoring, long-term governance and also for public dialogue are not well-prepared. The concepts of reversibility and retrievability render these tasks even more challenging. The aim of this session is to discuss the challenges of and approaches to technical monitoring and long-term governance in an interdisciplinary manner. Scientists from radioactive waste management, spatial planning, political sciences, STS, ethics, technology assessment and engineering with interest on in interdisciplinary research are invited to present their perspectives and results on this topic.
  • Ethical and Juridical Challenges in RWM
    Both, the political and the scientific debate on RWM are loaded with normative issues. This bisciplinary section is open to papers adressing challenges faced in ethical reflection and juridical enquiry of the legal codifications needed as guidelines storage and disposal.
  • Values and Criteria for RWM Strategy Assessment
    On which base may a strategy for RWM be called safe, secure, or just? Any feasible argument on RWM-strategies relies on both, scientific criteria and normative values that form principles for evaluation and assessment. This section will stress the theoretical foundations of RWM-research in order to scruntinise, define, and revaluate the principles of its ways and findings.
  • Addressing Technical and Societal Risks and Uncertainties
    Nearly every issue of radioactive waste management is closely linked to aspects of risk and uncertainties. This session focusses on the management of these aspects – ranging from the safety of technical systems over radiation protection to uncertainties concerning the societal evolution over the next decades.
  • Research Needs in Technical and Non-Technical Disciplines — How Good is Good Enough?
    The session will collect existing deficits for realization of a disposal strategy, both from the technical viewpoint and concerning procedural challenges. In an open discussion, we will address the question whether one should aim at the best conceivable solution or rather – by a more pragmatic approach – at a solution of “only” adequate safety.
  • Education & Training in RWM: Interdisciplinary and Disciplinary Aspects
    The session covers disciplinary and interdisciplinary education and vocational training of all topics related to nuclear waste disposal. Presentations on interdisciplinary cooperative projects and national programs from spokespersons or representatives of this topic area are highly welcome. The session shall comprise short topical presentations followed by a panel discussion.
  • Geoscientific and Geotechnical Aspects of High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal
    Most nations dealing with the disposal of high-level nuclear waste are aiming for a deep geological repository. The topic is directed at researchers in Geology, Mining and Geotechnics to provide presentations on recent research and scientific results in the field of deep geological disposal.

The sessions are comprising invited and contributed talks, discussion groups and a poster session.

The social programme will comprise a public evening event and a social dinner. There will be opportunity to visit Asse, Morsleben, Konrad, the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) on Friday, 29th. Following the international conference there will be a full day event for the public on Saturday, 30th in German language (to be announced).

The deadline for Abstract Submission has been extended until April 15th, 2017!

You may submit more than one contribution; however, the upper limit of three contributions per presenter should not be exceeded.
The book of abstracts will be published. By sending your abstract(s), all authors agree to the publication of their abstract(s) by the organizer.

For preparing your abstract, please use this abstract template. Please note: In case that your abstract contains figures, they must have printing quality i.e. 300 dpi is the minimum resolution.

During the online submission of your abstract(s), you please have to:

  • mark your contribution as poster, as oral contribution or as discussion group;
  • assign your abstract(s) to one of our conference themes/sessions;
  • fill into the forms provided by the online system the following information: name, first name & institution etc. of all authors (co-authors) of your abstract(s).

Please submit your abstract online (300 to 500 words, max. 2 pages, max. 5 MB, best as doc or docx) by following this link

CFP: Making Futures: Green alternatives and STS Interventions

Workshop on “Making Futures: Green alternatives and STS Interventions”

24-25 November 2017

Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland

We invite abstracts for a workshop on “Making Future(s): Green alternatives and STS Interventions” which will be held at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, 24-25 November 2017. The workshop is funded by the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).

During the workshop we want to reflect on problems of environmental degradation and its threat to livelihoods. Remedies to such problems come predominantly in the form of various techno- and market-fixes. Eco-modernist perspectives shape mainstream politics and policies with regard to environment. A good example is the Breakthrough Institute’s Ecomodernist Manifesto (Adafu-Adjaje et al., 2015). Many agendas advocate capitalist ‘acceleration’ in the name of going beyond the current system. These would develop technologies ‘which free us from biological and environmental constraints’, as well as from conventional work (Srnicek and Williams, Accelerationist Manifesto 2013 and Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, 2015).  Amidst policy frameworks promoting new infrastructure for economic growth, alternatives propose ‘green infrastructure’ in various forms (e.g. The Case for Green Infrastructure, 2013).

However, alternative visions of the future and solutions to environmental challenges have also been proposed by social movements, local communities and different other kind of social groups and groupings. For example, social movements demand environmental justice and ‘system change’.  A number of local communities and indigenous peoples, both in the global North and South, have devised lifestyles according to alternative cosmologies that try to escape capitalist notions of nature, politics and economics.  The concept of buen vivir, good life, have become something more than just a slogan inviting to join a consumerist comfort. It has taken shape as an anti-capitalist and environmentalist agenda.

STS has a potential to critically engage with the dominant visions in order to advance politics of creating our common future.  Through this workshop we aim to advance STS theoretical and methodological interventions into both reflecting on and making ‘green futures’. The main questions to engage with are:

(1) What theoretical and methodological approaches in STS have proven to be most fruitful for studying how various visions of ‘green futures’ are made and how they stabilize into social orders? We are interested in conceptualizing technologies for making ‘futures’ and ‘the predictions of future’, new agencies, as well as new socio-technical orders, their scales and temporalities.

(2) How can we advance the current STS approaches to studying the making of the future(s)?  How to analyse the various socio-political constructs of the ‘uncertain’ and ‘green’ futures that dominate the discussion about creating what comes after the present?

(3) What concepts of nature, technology and society underlie these visions?

(4) How do various remedies for the environmental crisis engage with the neoliberal order of contemporary capitalism, either by strengthening or subverting it? In other words, we are also interested in the politics of making diverse future(s).

The organizing team comprises of local and international scholars actively shaping the field of STS: Aleksandra Lis (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland), Małgorzata Kowalska (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland), Piotr Matczak (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland), Agata Stasik (Koźmiński University, Warsaw, Poland) Les Levidow (Open University, UK), Luigi Pellizzoni (University of Pisa)

Invited speaker: Ingmar Lippert (IT-University of Copenhagen)

Deadline for abstracts: May 15th, 2017

300 words, proposing theoretical, empirical and methodological interventions.

Abstracts should be submitted by e-mail to ALL THREE email addresses: Aleksandra Lis alis@amu.edu.pl, Agata K. Stasik stasik.agata@gmail.com  and Małgorzata Kowalska malgorzata.kowalska@amu.edu.pl

Successful applicants will be notified by June 30th, 2017. Full paper drafts should be submitted by November 1st, 2017. A post-workshop publication of the papers is planned.

All paper-giving participants will be hosted at a university housing facility for up to two nights. A limited number of travel bursaries is available upon request.

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