Geographical research be going with practice theory? And how? Thinking on that
was the challenge I set myself for an invited keynote talk in Halle yesterday.
The Summer School was organised by the Practice Theory and Space Group, funded by Germany’s national research council and led by Jonathan Everts, professor of Anthropogeography at Martin Luther University, Halle-Salle.
It was a surprise to be invited to speak at a knowledge exchange event on communication and behaviour change to reduce energy use. My work and that of others, not least in the DEMAND centre on which I was co-investigator, challenges the emphasis on communication, and behaviour change as conventionally framed, to effect change in what people do. But the event was part of a follow on project from the excellent Material Cultures of Energy project led by Frank Trentmann at Birkbeck, and seemed an opportunity to deliver the same messages again to a diverse audience of academics and policy professionals at the Science Museum.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre is a daunting place to go to deliver a paper. The entrance to the enormous site resembles a border. A row of control cabins, each with an armed guard outside, check every vehicle. Anyone without the necessary permissions goes to a desk to handover ID in return for being checked as an expected visitor. On the way out another armed guard with a german shepherd dog scans your new visitor badge and checks it against your ID again.
I was part of a genuinely complementary and productive conference panel – all too rare an experience – at the 2018 conference of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) in Oslo. My pretty abstract paper, from my chapter Placing Power in Practice Theory was in a session with Roy Heidelberg, who talked on accountability and technology; Simon West with an ethnographically grounded account of the doing of adaptive natural resource management; and Guy Riveros on the emergence of the ‘school leader’ as part of the transformation of education policy and its enactment.
Talking once again on understanding the relations between infrastructural change, changes to daily life, and their consequences for energy demand, this time as one of the contributors to the ‘Energy in the City’ Summer School at Leeds University. Working through the argument of a journal article recently back from review, and getting participants’ input into it, really helped push along my thinking on ‘infrastructuration’. A full report of the event is here. Continue reading “Energy in the city summer school”