Accepted paper:

Meeting photovoltaics: a plea for technoecological analysis


Dagmar Lorenz-Meyer (Charles University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper proposes the concept of technoecology for analysing solar energy. Denoting the co-constitution of the ecological & technological, technoecology focuses on how solar power remakes particular milieus and ethos in a double process of dis/articulation that attends to constitutive exclusions.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores the 'mattering' of solar energy in terms of new material energy arrangements and matters of concern. In the face of the perceived enrichment of so-called solar barons photovoltaic installations in the Czech Republic have received negative public attention and subsidies have been phased out. Yet observers currently predict a second Czech solar boom. Drawing on feminist technoscience (Haraway, Star, Stengers) and on ethnographic fieldwork around the largest Czech photovoltaic power plant and interviews in households with solar micro-generation, the paper proposes the frame of technoecology for the analysis of solar energy engagements. Technoecology denotes the immanent co-constitution of the ecological and the technological. Focusing on how solar power remakes particular milieus and their constitutive ethos or capacity, technoecology reworks the political semiotics of articulation in terms of a double process of articulation and disarticulation that attends to constitutive exclusions, 'spaces between' and the immanent tensions in solar development. This concerns the non-participation of local Roma communities in the construction and operation of photovoltaics, the polysilicon waste to come as much as pervasive fears that low voltage solar generated electricity interferes with human bodies and local climates. In considering these dis/articulations technoecologically as a part of solar matterings the paper asks what they might mean for realising the promise of photovoltaics to establish energy abundance and socio-environmental justice through horizontal networks of electricity production and consumption.

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Encounters between people, things and environments
Meeting alternative energetic materialities