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Drawing on studies of energy transitions, social scientists will analyse the puzzles, perils and promises of engagement with this research stream. How do scholars in cognate disciplines navigate and legitimate the epistemic politics of scholarship given the present urgency of climate mitigation?
Increasing concern over the climate challenge, growing affordability of low-carbon energy sources, and the persisting power of incumbent fossil fuel sources in energy systems have driven an expansion of research on energy transitions during the 2010s. Studies in energy anthropology have multiplied, energy geographies has gained force as a field, and a number of cognate domains have emerged. As discernible patterns begin to take shape in these overlapping yet distinct strands of research, we turn a reflexive lens on to this solidifying mass of scholarship in relation to our analyses of energy transitions. We are interested in unpacking what functions these fields perform by asking: what are the epistemic politics of energy research assemblages? Each contribution takes a particular energy transition case as a point of departure, then critically unpacks one's own role and perspective as a researcher engaging with the case. Contributors will also consider the analytical limits and opportunities developed by scholarly fields in order to reflect on the approaches we and our scholarly communities use to acquire and advance knowledge about energy transitions in the context of climate change.