Sociotechnical asymmetries in energy issues
Ana Delicado (Lisbon University)
Luis Junqueira (ICS - University of Lisbon)
Alena Bleicher (Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH - UFZ)
Sustainability in transition
C. Humanisticum AB 2.08
Thursday 18 September, 9:30-11:15, 11:30-13:15, 15:00-16:45, 17:00-18:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Multiple asymmetries can arise in the transition to sustainable energy systems and S&T can play a role in either alleviating or deepening them. This track aims to address energy technologies their interaction with government regulations, business strategies, everyday practices and values.

Long abstract:

Energy has gained a prominent place in environmental debates but also in scientific and technological ones. The transition to sustainable energy systems is thought to require not only the development, dissemination and adoption of technologies for clean generation and efficient use, but also substantive social transformations, from government regulations to business strategies, from everyday practices to values and world visions.

Multiple asymmetries can arise in relation to energy issues: between competing technologies of energy generation and distribution, receiving varying levels of research funding, government support or private investment; between the need for clean supply and an ever-growing demand of energy; between global benefits and local impacts of energy production; between technology-rich and technology-deprived countries that can or cannot make the most out of their energy resources; between communities and large companies in the market of energy supply; between social groups in the access to energy-efficient devices or even to energy itself (energy poverty).

Science and technology can play a role in either alleviating or deepening these asymmetries and can also be used as a rhetorical device in arguments about energy. Public engagement has been touted as a solution for energy disputes, but the balance of power tends to remain firmly on the side of experts, policy-makers or business interests, rather than consumers/users/citizens.

This track welcomes papers addressing any of these or other related themes, based on either theoretical or empirical approaches.

The papers will be presented in the order shown and grouped 3-3-3-4 between sessions