Community energy initiatives to alleviate fuel poverty : the material politics of Energy Cafés

Show full item record



Martiskainen , M , Heiskanen , E & Speciale , G 2018 , ' Community energy initiatives to alleviate fuel poverty : the material politics of Energy Cafés ' , Local Environment , vol. 23 , no. 1 , pp. 20-35 .

Title: Community energy initiatives to alleviate fuel poverty : the material politics of Energy Cafés
Author: Martiskainen, Mari; Heiskanen, Eva; Speciale, Giovanna
Contributor organization: Research Units of the Faculty of Social Sciences
Centre for Consumer Society Research
Date: 2018-01-02
Language: eng
Number of pages: 16
Belongs to series: Local Environment
ISSN: 1354-9839
Abstract: Community action has an increasingly prominent role in the debates surrounding transitions to sustainability. Initiatives such as community energy projects, community gardens, local food networks and car sharing clubs provide new spaces for sustainable consumption, and combinations of technological and social innovations. These initiatives, which are often driven by social good rather than by pure monetary motives, have been conceptualised as grassroots innovations. Previous research in grassroots innovations has largely focused on conceptualising such initiatives and analysing their potential for replication and diffusion; there has been less research in the politics involved in these initiatives. We examine grassroots innovations as forms of political engagement that is different from the 1970s' alternative technology movements. Through an analysis of community-run Energy Cafes in the United Kingdom, we argue that while present-day grassroots innovations appear less explicitly political than their predecessors, they can still represent a form of political participation. Through the analytical lens of material politics, we investigate how Energy Cafes engage in diverse - explicit and implicit, more or less conscious forms of political engagement. In particular, their work to "demystify" clients' energy bills can unravel into various forms of advocacy and engagement with energy technologies and practices in the home. Some Energy Cafe practices also make space for a needs-driven approach that acknowledges the embeddedness of energy in the household and wider society.
Subject: 512 Business and Management
Grassroots innovations
material politics
community energy
fuel poverty
Energy Cafe
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

Files in this item

Total number of downloads: Loading...

Files Size Format View
13549839.2017.pdf 1.520Mb PDF View/Open

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record