Accepted paper:

Transdisciplinary subjectivation. Negotiating scientific identities, skills, and normativities in the arena of sustainable energy transformations


Mirko Suhari (Zeppelin University)

Paper short abstract:

In the realm of energy transitions knowledge production have increasingly opened up towards transdisciplinary stakeholder participation, life-world problems, and the pluralization of expertise. The presentations explores framings and frictions of emerging subject positions.

Paper long abstract:

Since sustainable transformations of energy systems have gained much attention in political as well as in public spheres, practices of knowledge production have increasingly opened up towards transdisciplinary modes of stakeholder participation, life-world problem solving, and the pluralization of expertise. One of the main challenges faced by scientists working within this emerging research culture leads to the multireferential expectations articulated by heterogeneous social worlds who are engaged in sustainable transformations. Thus, I will argue that new forms of scientific subjectivities are shaped by the interplay between rising controversies regarding the diffusion of renewable energy technologies, traditional academic value orders, and stakeholders` demands for usable knowledge.

Based on interviews and policy documents, the presentation explores tensions between the discursive framings of transdisciplinary subject positions and the fragmented adaptations, oppositions, and frictions of scientists working in transdisciplinary energy projects. Researchers are situated in-between the messy spheres of political power, ethical valuation, and scientific quality criteria and not least their very own emotions, values, and competencies. It is then shown that transdisciplinary identities, skills, and normativities are negotiated in relation to different social worlds from academia, civil society, economy, and the state. On this premise, it is argued that various dynamics of boundary work are at play that reshape the role of science in society and thus diversify the possibilities of scientific engagement for the energy transition.

panel F03
Scientists - agents under construction