Exploring the anthropology of energy : ethnography, energy and ethics
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This Special Issue explores the anthropology of energy by highlighting the unique contributions an ethnographic perspective offers to understanding energy and ethics. We propose the term energy ethics to capture the ways in which people understand and ethically evaluate energy. The term encompasses the multiple and varied ways that people experience, conceptualize, and evaluate matters of energy. Out of the diversity of fieldsites, research methods, conceptual frameworks, and disciplinary backgrounds that characterize the articles in the special issue, three clear themes emerge. The first is that multiple, conflicting understandings of energy animate how people engage it in their everyday lives and work. The second is that diversity exists in how people make ethical judgments about the role of energy in the types of 'good societies' they imagine for themselves. Finally, the articles underscore the significance of government interests and public policy for shaping people's experiences of and ethical judgments about energy. These perspectives reveal the value of research that is attuned to the ways in which people view the world and the place of energy in it, opening up space to identify and reflect on our taken-for-granted assumptions.
Smith , J & High , M 2017 , ' Exploring the anthropology of energy : ethnography, energy and ethics ' , Energy Research and Social Science , vol. 30 , pp. 1-6 . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.027
Energy Research and Social Science
Copyright © 2017, Elsevier Ltd. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.06.027
DescriptionThis special issue emerged from the 2016 Energy Ethics conference that co-editors High and Smith hosted at the University of St. Andrews. The authors acknowledge the generous funders of that conference, including the British Academy through the British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award (BARSEA—EN 150010), the US National Science Foundation through the Cultivating Cultures of Ethical STEM program (Award 1540298), the Russell Trust of University of St. Andrews (Award ST1513), and the Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St. Andrews.
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