Assembling interdisciplinary energy research through an Actor Network Theory (ANT) frame

Wong, Catherine Mei Ling (2016) Assembling interdisciplinary energy research through an Actor Network Theory (ANT) frame. Energy Research & Social Science, 12. pp. 106-110.

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Much has been achieved over the last decade to highlight the need for energy research to look beyond the technical dimensions of energy systems to include the social elements of energy consumption and production. Inter-disciplinary research in this area has thus been growing. The degree of penetration by the social sciences into technical energy analysis, however, has largely been weak not just within academic research but also in policy and decision-making. This paper introduces Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as a frame and mode of thinking about inter-disciplinary energy research in practice. In presenting a short history of its classical status, evolution and more contemporary applications, this paper highlights the concepts of social-material heterogeneity, enrolment, enactment and translation and some applications to energy research. It argues that an ANT approach: (1) expands the purview of analysis to the larger web of people and things that co-constitute energy systems; (2) gives visibility to previously inconspicuous actors and processes; (3) actively engages with ignorance and uncertainty in scientific experimentation; and (4) identifies alternative ways of assembling technologies, people and environments that are fairer and more sustainable.

Item ID: 42218
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2214-6296
Keywords: actor network theory; energy; interdisciplinary research; risk
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2016 04:44
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441002 Environmental sociology @ 10%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441006 Sociological methodology and research methods @ 70%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441007 Sociology and social studies of science and technology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 85 ENERGY > 8598 Environmentally Sustainable Energy Activities > 859899 Environmentally Sustainable Energy Activities not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design @ 25%
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