SRI External Seminar

Professor Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University

Insights from DEMAND – the dynamics of energy, mobility and demand

Abstract: The DEMAND Centre (2013-2018) was one of six End Use Energy Demand Centres, funded by the RCUK energy programme (www.demand.ac.uk).  In this talk I will introduce DEMAND’s distinctive approach to conceptualizing and investigating energy demand and discuss some of the findings and insights arising from our research.  Right from the start, the centre was built around a handful of core propositions, one of which was that people do not use energy for its own sake – rather, energy is used in accomplishing social practices at home, at work and in moving around.  This led us to focus on how it is that energy-demanding practices become established, how they change and whether and how they might be steered.  In the talk I will elaborate on what we found, on some of new agendas and lines of enquiry we opened up, and on the challenges of fitting these in to more ‘mainstream’ debates in the energy sector.

Bio: Elizabeth Shove is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University and PI of the DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) – see www.demand.ac.uk.  Elizabeth is known for her contributions to practice theory, recent examples of which include Infrastructures in Practice: the dynamics of demand in networked societies (2018: Routledge) edited with Frank Trentmann, and The Nexus of Practices (2017: Routledge) edited with Allison Hui and Ted Schatzki. She is currently part of a team working on the concept of ‘flexibility’ in energy and transport systems (part of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions), and will be spending some time thinking about the different ways in which social practices connect.