About this Research Topic
Understanding the full spectrum of research, development, and deployment of energy technologies is one of the most profound sustainability challenges facing society. Rapid technological and social changes have positioned energy, especially electricity, at the crux of complex policy debates that are especially acute in democratic regimes, and offer unprecedented opportunity to experiment with new forms of public participation and governance. Energy democracy refers to an emergent social movement that re-imagines energy consumers as prosumers, or innovators, designers, and analysts who are involved in decisions at every stage of this sector, from production through consumption.
While energy democracy movements are increasingly asserting their role in energy decision-making, interdisciplinary energy systems scholarship has not yet substantively engaged with this empirical phenomenon. A sustained program of communication and interdisciplinary research in energy democracy is necessary to illuminate the empirical, theoretical, and practical underpinnings and possibilities of energy democracy. Similar to the way environmental justice is both a movement and an area of scholarship with reciprocal relationships, developing research on energy democracy requires elucidating its normative commitments, an empirical research agenda, and practices and processes to support energy systems transitions.
Contributors are welcome to submit research and essays that develop any of these aspects of energy democracy, using diverse theoretical and methodological approaches from across communication, and science, technology, and society studies. Practitioners are strongly encouraged to submit reflective experiences about local experiments with energy democracy.
Keywords: energy communication, energy democracy, public participation, environmental justice, environmental communication, science technology & society studies
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