Ross Wallace (ESR 4)
Socio-Technical Imaginaries of Future Energy Landscapes: How, when and where are renewable energy infrastructures acceptable?
Keywords: Renewable Energy Communities, imaginaries, futures, intermediaries, social acceptability
I am a PhD student at the Centre for Social Research and Innovation at the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE). Originally from the north of Scotland, I lived for ten years in Melbourne, Australia where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology and philosophy. Up until my recent move to Lisbon, I lived in Edinburgh for three years. During this time, I received a master’s degree in social research from the University of Edinburgh. My dissertation research focussed on attempts to implement principles of the circular economy in the coffee industry and examined the complex coordination of values, practices and wastes that this required.
My current research project will develop and deploy the concept of “socio-technical imaginaries” to cases of renewable energy technology development. Socio-technical imaginaries have been defined as “collectively held, institutionally stabilized, and publicly performed visions of desirable futures, animated by shared understandings of forms of social life and social order attainable through, and supportive of, advances in science and technology” (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015, p.4). There have been studies that have investigated these visions and practices, primarily at the technical-expert level. By contrast, I will adopt a social-psychology approach in order to focus the analysis on citizens and communities, especially those who have been affected by energy development projects. Of specific interest is the extent to which communities share the visions of developers and other stakeholders, or indeed to what extent alternative imaginaries are articulated by citizens. The research will be enriched by a cross-national comparison between Portugal and the UK and will be useful to those directly involved in the environmentally sustainable energy transitions insofar as it provides a more nuanced understanding of community (dis)engagement with energy infrastructures.
Dr Susana Batel
Centre for Psychological Research and Social Intervention
Dr Nuno Bento
Dr Margarida Fontes
Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir
Lecturer and Principle Investigator
Energy Policy and Modelling Research Group
University College Cork