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Mundane governance of domestic energy systems
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The proposed transition to a low-carbon society still faces major challenges. The speed of this transition is too slow to achieve the goals set by international and national governmental bodies, and gaps are often identified between available energy-productivity technologies and their appropriate use. The governance of mundane domains such as domestic energy systems has recently attracted attention from researchers in the European context (Shove et al. 2012, Woolgar and Neyland 2013). Lessons learnt from this research illustrate how materials, competence, and meaning influence energy productivity in domestic settings (Shove et al. 2012) and how accountability is enacted by connecting people and technologies (Woolgar and Neyland 2013). The research presented here cites Swedish examples of how energy productivity has been improved by involving multiple local actors, such as consumers, energy utilities, property companies, and local governments. The examples are analysed through the lens of social change and mundane governance theories, illustrating how spaces and places often overlooked as too mundane to be considered in policy prove, when analysed in more detail, to be important for energy productivity. The results indicate that “governance pairs” (Woolgar and Neyland 2013) are more or less successfully held together and influence accountability and governance possibilities. Examples of governance pairs are “households/lighting” and “caretakers/heating system”. These analyses demonstrate that, while governance is often portrayed in terms of causality, everyday practices involving various governance pairs are messier and less predictable than anticipated. These results call for the upgrading of research into everyday life and for bottom–up approaches in energy studies. Accountability – an important part of closing the energy-efficiency gap and understood in the context of mundane governance – can advance our energy-productivity thinking and action. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-125746OAI: diva2:908612
2016 Australian Summer Study on Energy Productivity. Sydney 24-26 February 2016
ENVAR - Energieffektiva bostadshus – rum för vardagsliv
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2016-03-03 Created: 2016-03-03 Last updated: 2016-03-14

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