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P230


Energy sufficiency, making transformations beyond technology 
Convenors:
Claire Le Renard (LATTS, Ecole des Ponts-ParisTech, IFRIS)
Grégoire Wallenborn (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

In many countries, the urge to reduce energy consumption has put energy sufficiency at the forefront. With their ability to seize materiality, STS can play a special role in the analysis of ongoing transformations around energy sufficiency (as defined by the IPCC) in practices and in policies.

Long Abstract:

STS scholarship has shown that the so-called 'energy transitions' in the past have mainly consisted in technological development producing more additions than substitutions (Fressoz, 2021; Laird, 2013). As the climate crisis calls for a rapid reduction of emissions, STS has dealt with the question of “doing less” (Goulet & Vinck, 2022). In many countries, the urge to reduce energy consumption since the international tensions in 2022 has put energy sufficiency at the forefront. As the IPCC defines it, sufficiency is “a set of policy measures and daily practices that avoid the demand for energy, materials, land, water, and other natural resources while providing wellbeing for all within the planetary boundaries.” (AR6, WG3). With their ability to seize materiality together with other fields of the social, STS can play a special role in the analysis of ongoing transformations around energy sufficiency in practices and in policies.

This panel invites empirical and/or conceptual contributions that tackle the issue of energy sufficiency. For instance, we ask if we observe changes in sociotechnical imaginaries, policies and practices. How can we describe and notice shifts in the relationships to technology and the desirability of doing less? Which circulations, reframings and controversies have accompanied the entry of ‘sufficiency’ in public policies? What are the real-scale experiments that took place in different countries, achieving real reductions in energy consumption, mobilising devices, curtailing infrastructures or inventing tools and instruments? Which were the definitional struggles, leaving more or less room to technology, individual and collective agency? Furthermore, can STS contribute to positive definition of energy sufficiency, framing it as a non- individual question, not only less but in other ways?

Accepted papers: