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Accepted Paper:

Dreaming Decarbonization: The Climate as a Classed Technological Struggle  
Kārlis Lakševics (Wageningen University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores how people's everyday encounters and interactions with technologies as aggregated contributors to climate change relates to their classed access to technological devices and knowledge having implications on their imaginational capacity to make decarbonized lifestyle choices.

Paper long abstract:

While the European Green Deal attempts to push innovation in decarbonizing technologies, on a household level, a carbon-neutrality transition in domains of nutrition, housing and transport for many remains a utopian dream. Solar panels, heat pumps and electric cars is a massive investment that in popular imagination seems unreachable for most households in Eastern European countries like Latvia. As a result, transition is imaginable as a technological fix only in policy circles, among green entrepreneurs and the wealthiest. This paper builds on a study of diverse activists aspiring to make lifestyle choices compatible with climate goals in their struggles to calculate their carbon footprint, tinker with technologies and optimize consumption. I explore the ways how people deal with technologies and imagine their capacities in using 'green technology' as a classed clima-technological struggle. I argue that the dominant European framings of decarbonization present a developmentalist regime of growth rooted in a techno-ecological and capitalist understanding of the climate that is accessible in a highly technical form. In this vision, the figure of green technologies embodies growing technological prowess and 'smart' knowledge infrastructures for 'knowing the climate' forming a key narrative for sustaining the temporal horizon of an increasing standard of living. In the meantime, people's 'non-technological choices' that are related to their sense of self, wellbeing and navigating desires are often harder to consider materially relevant since their aggregated climate impact might be small if compared to building renovation, but can become framed as climate-related only when framed as technological choices.

Panel P022b
Uncommon Explorations between Green Technologies, Climate Hopes, and the Anthropological Imagination II
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -