Disassembling the power of high-carbon imaginaries
Associate Professor Magdalena Kuchler (Uppsala) and Professor Gavin Bridge (Durham) have secured four-years of research funding from the Swedish Research Council (VR) for a major project on the socio-technical imaginaries around carbon-intensive energy systems. Using social science methods and a novel combination of analytical frameworks, they will analyse and compare four distinctive ‘carbonscapes’: coal mining and coal-fired power generation in Poland; and crude oil production and petroleum refining in the UK. The project assesses how widespread social imaginaries about energy futures reproduce or challenge these high-carbon systems, and how they can be realigned or dismantled to accelerate low-carbon transition.
The development of the successful funding proposal (10.4 MSEK/approx £930,000), was supported by a Durham University-Uppsala University Seedcorn grant on Decarbonising Energy Systems. Seedcorn money enabled Kuchler and Bridge to advance their proposal through focussed brainstorming and writing visits around the theme of socio-technical imaginaries. Their work together on energy imaginaries formed one of three strands of collaborative work within the Seedcorn project, which aims to bring together social and technical expertise relevant to decarbonisation in the Durham Energy Institute, the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (NRHU) program at the Department of Earth Sciences at Uppsala, and the Departments of Geography at the two institutions.
Read more: Down the black hole: Sustaining national socio-technical imaginaries of coal in Poland
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