Infrastructures in practice

This book explores how infrastructures and the dynamics of everyday life shape each other, with a focus on a consequences of the processes involved for the making of demand for energy.

I co-authored, with Elizabeth Shove and Frank Trentmann, the introduction and the conclusion to the volume, providing the framing for a wide range of fascinating contributions and turning, in that final chapter, to consider what the implications are for possible futures.

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Practices and complex system change – talk at EC Joint Research Centre


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.

My first visit there today was to kick off the two days of panel presentations and discussion at a JRC Exploratory Workshop, Energy Sustainability in the Transition to Renewables: Framings from Social Practices and Complex Systems Theories. The workshop aimed to bring together these two contemporary approaches to see how they could help policy – including through identifying further research needs – to confront the broader societal challenges of moving towards low carbon energy through deployment of renewables.

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Opening Up the Participation Laboratory – new article in Science, Technology and Human Values

Online here:

Pre-press version here

This article, lead authored by Anna Krzywoszynska with me along with the rest of the Solar Futures team, engages debates on public participation in ‘upstream’ techno-scientific developments. It draws on the our projects long term participatory process with residents of a small town to envisage energy futures. It is published online today in the journal Science, Technology and Human Values.

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Lessons from a local history of domestic heating in the UK

Open access available here

Published online today by Energy Research and Social Science

This article, which I co-authored with Dr Lenneke Kuijer, uses detailed analysis of historical change across infrastructures and practices reveals processes underpinning increasing demand for heat in UK homes. It draws on archive work, oral histories and focus groups as part of our work with the DEMAND research centre. Highlighting how phenomena including spatial differentiation within the home, processes of automation and the emergence of novel practice fuelled demand for heat, it demonstrates how a focus on patterns of practice reveals new insights into energy demand, including new insights for contemporary energy policy.

Open access available here

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Co-producing energy futures: the impacts of participatory modelling

Open access here

This paper shows that collaborative visioning of local energy systems can enhance social learning and social capital of communities. I co-authored it with Anna Krzywoszynska and with Alastair Buckley, Hugh Birch, Prue Chiles, Jose Maywin, Helen Holmes and Nicky Gregson. It was published in the journal Building Research and Information in 2016

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No more meters? A piece on The Conversation with Elizabeth Shove

From The Conversation, No More Meters – follow links

Imagine never again receiving an energy bill. Instead, you could pay a flat fee for “comfort”, “cleanliness” or “home entertainment” alongside a premium for more energy-demanding TVs, kettles or fridge-freezers. This isn’t the stuff of science fiction – it’s emerging right now. Recent changes in technology and regulation are enabling the development of new ways to provide electricity and gas.


Read more at The Conversation – No more meters?

Conceptualising connections: energy demand, infrastructures and social practices

open access version here

In this paper we focus on the task of understanding and analysing car dependence, using this as a case through which to introduce and explore what we take to be central but underdeveloped questions about how infrastructures and complexes of social practice connect across space and time. I co-authored it with Elizabeth Shove and with Nicola Spurling and it was published in the European Journal of Social Theoryin 2015

open access | published version | cited by..  |

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