Research Topic

Energizing Global Democracy: Resources, Actors and Narratives

About this Research Topic

Energy shapes landscapes and human civilization. Its complexities have been assessed from many points of view, including planetary energetics and limits to growth, bio- and human energetics, resource-to-energy conversions, flows and possible (if not plausible) energy futures. Nowadays though, when we speak about ‘energy’, we cannot only speak about those concepts, but we must also speak about actors and processes such as transnational corporations, national development imaginaries, locked in infrastructures, international agreements and novel energy models requiring a rethinking of ethical dilemmas and issues of justice, democracy and equality. The meta-complexities involved in the current societal and ecosystem metabolism when this expanded vision of energy is taken into account, call for a more elaborate and critical analysis of complex and/or structural processes to reveal the visible (and not-so visible) impacts and risks of the current energy system. Many social movements emerge everywhere with calls for reclaiming a public control of energy, pushing mobilization and social transformation in the face of social, economic, environmental and gender inequalities. Megaprojects that end in failure with massive miscalculation of socio-environmental costs, energy infrastructures with significant long-lasting environmental and social impacts, and economic growth-driven energy policies that were not questioned some years ago, are now key sites of contestation over participation, debate and action, asking for popular sovereignties and aiming at the empowerment of local communities.

This Research Topic welcomes scholars from all disciplines to provide their contribution in the field of the study of the role of energy in the global democracy and governance, by assessing issues related with, but not limited to, the following:

• National and international energy grabbing and hoarding.
• Energy democracy/unfairness, governance and globalization.
• Low carbon energy transitions and energy justice implications
• Illegitimate debt and socio-environmental impacts caused by current energy models (e.g., fossil fuel subsidies).
• Energy geographies and commodity frontiers of energy transitions
• Energy empowerment of communities, popular energy sovereignties, energy cooperatives and agents of change.
• The Commons. Community control over production, the grid and electricity retail.
• Social and environmental impacts of multinational and transnational energy systems and corporations.
• Energy poverty, fuel poverty.
• Energy humanities, social narratives on energy futures.
• Energy metabolism in developed and developing countries.
• The role of public and private energy companies, oligopolies in policy behind revolving doors and corruption in energy systems.
• Multi-scalar, multi-dimensional network and agent-based energy models, including social and environmental networks and systems.


The following article types will be accepted:
• Original Research
• Methods
• Technology Reports
• Hypothesis and theory
• Perspectives
• Data Reports
• General Commentaries
• Policy briefs


Keywords: Energy poverty, Energy democracy, Energy justice, Low carbon energy transitions, Ethics in energy decisions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Energy shapes landscapes and human civilization. Its complexities have been assessed from many points of view, including planetary energetics and limits to growth, bio- and human energetics, resource-to-energy conversions, flows and possible (if not plausible) energy futures. Nowadays though, when we speak about ‘energy’, we cannot only speak about those concepts, but we must also speak about actors and processes such as transnational corporations, national development imaginaries, locked in infrastructures, international agreements and novel energy models requiring a rethinking of ethical dilemmas and issues of justice, democracy and equality. The meta-complexities involved in the current societal and ecosystem metabolism when this expanded vision of energy is taken into account, call for a more elaborate and critical analysis of complex and/or structural processes to reveal the visible (and not-so visible) impacts and risks of the current energy system. Many social movements emerge everywhere with calls for reclaiming a public control of energy, pushing mobilization and social transformation in the face of social, economic, environmental and gender inequalities. Megaprojects that end in failure with massive miscalculation of socio-environmental costs, energy infrastructures with significant long-lasting environmental and social impacts, and economic growth-driven energy policies that were not questioned some years ago, are now key sites of contestation over participation, debate and action, asking for popular sovereignties and aiming at the empowerment of local communities.

This Research Topic welcomes scholars from all disciplines to provide their contribution in the field of the study of the role of energy in the global democracy and governance, by assessing issues related with, but not limited to, the following:

• National and international energy grabbing and hoarding.
• Energy democracy/unfairness, governance and globalization.
• Low carbon energy transitions and energy justice implications
• Illegitimate debt and socio-environmental impacts caused by current energy models (e.g., fossil fuel subsidies).
• Energy geographies and commodity frontiers of energy transitions
• Energy empowerment of communities, popular energy sovereignties, energy cooperatives and agents of change.
• The Commons. Community control over production, the grid and electricity retail.
• Social and environmental impacts of multinational and transnational energy systems and corporations.
• Energy poverty, fuel poverty.
• Energy humanities, social narratives on energy futures.
• Energy metabolism in developed and developing countries.
• The role of public and private energy companies, oligopolies in policy behind revolving doors and corruption in energy systems.
• Multi-scalar, multi-dimensional network and agent-based energy models, including social and environmental networks and systems.


The following article types will be accepted:
• Original Research
• Methods
• Technology Reports
• Hypothesis and theory
• Perspectives
• Data Reports
• General Commentaries
• Policy briefs


Keywords: Energy poverty, Energy democracy, Energy justice, Low carbon energy transitions, Ethics in energy decisions


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 December 2017 Abstract
30 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 December 2017 Abstract
30 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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