Making Energy Publics event
London, Thursday, April 3, 2014 from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM (BST)
Speakers: Andrew Barry (UCL); Linda Soneryd (University of Gothenburg); Alison Mohr (University of Nottingham); Tom Hargreaves and Noel Longhurst (UEA); Nick Mahony and HIlde Stephansen (Open University).
Organised by: Jason Chilvers and Helen Pallett
What publics think, know, say and do has become a central concern of energy research and policy. Existing approaches tend to imagine an external public existing in a natural state waiting to be revealed, engaged, or mobilised by science and democracy. Yet, energy publics are actively brought into being by the ways one seeks to know and move them. This seminar – a collaboration between the Open University Publics then, now and beyond network and the EPSRC Realising Transition Pathways Project – explores the possible academic and practical value of radically rethinking energy publics as being emergent and coproduced in relation to social, technical and political orders. In doing so it has three main areas of concern and possible contribution.
To consider competing theoretical explanations for the coproduction, making and mediation of energy publics – including the relative roles of technologies, objects, issues, procedures, settings, imaginaries, and forms of human action in shaping (and being shaped by) instances and practices of public formation.
To open up a more ‘system-wide’ and symmetrical exploration of the diverse sites and forms of making energy publics – ranging from public deliberations on energy policy through to performing smart technologies in the home, and from grassroots energy innovations through to forms of public protest – than mainstream social science theories and approaches which attend to specific parts of the energy ‘system’ and/or particular publics (like rational actors, consumers, deliberative citizens, civil society, users, everyday practitioners).
To consider how relations between science, governance and society would need to be reconfigured in order to better account for the inherent uncertainties, diversities, materialities, and competing visions of emergent energy publics.