Dwelling on Energy: Exploring social and cultural influences on domestic energy use in international contexts (I)

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Energy and Environment Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM (MDT)
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Organizers: Frances Fahy, Gary Goggins
Chairs: Frances Fahy


Reducing residential energy use and related CO2 emissions is a key policy focus across many developed countries. Yet, despite ongoing efforts, prevailing market-based and technological focused approaches have had limited success in bringing about long-term reductions in domestic energy use. Without adequate consideration for the social, cultural and contextual influences on residential energy use, it is highly unlikely that dominant efficiency-driven approaches will deliver the necessary reductions in energy demand. Social-scientific approaches will need to play a key role if sustainable energy transitions at the household level are to be successful. Social practice theory, for example, has been increasingly utilized by geographers to demonstrate that household energy use varies among different socio-demographic groups, and across cultures and contexts. But, despite gaining traction in some academic circles, complex social-scientific approaches have had limited impact on non-academic stakeholders and public policy, not least because of the difficulty in translating findings into concrete policy recommendations.

This session will advance social-scientific debate through theoretical development and empirical investigation related to the social and cultural influences on household energy use. We are particularly interested in papers that deal with cross-cultural variations in household energy use. Papers may include, but are not limited to, topics such as:
• Comparing and contrasting energy use across cultural contexts
• The role of government and intermediary actors in influencing routine energy use
• Innovative energy reduction initiatives at the household or community level (including Living Lab approaches)
• International case studies which reflect the drivers of individual and collective energy choices and energy-related practices
• Socio-technical innovations and cultural influences

Ultimately, this session aims to bring together papers that offer international insights that explore the significance of socio-cultural perspectives and practices involved with transitions to a low-carbon society and future. We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions from a broad geographical spread.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Frances Fahy National University of Ireland, Galway 10 12:40 PM
Presenter Paul Munro*, University of New South Wales, The Changing Geographies of African Energy Poverty 20 12:50 PM
Presenter Gareth Powells*, Newcastle University, Decarbonising practices with hydrogen: acceptance, risk and (in)visibilities 20 1:10 PM
Presenter Stephanie Buechler*, University of Arizona - Geography & Development, Verónica Vázquez García , Colegio de Postgraduados Montecillo, Mexico, Synergies and Disconnects between Wind and Solar Projects and Women’s Lives and Livelihoods in Zacatecas, Mexico and Arizona, U.S.A. 20 1:30 PM
Presenter Ida Andersson*, Stockholm University, Accidental sustainability? The case of multi-story housing in wood 20 1:50 PM

To access contact information login