Janet Stephenson, Rebecca Ford, and Sara Walton

Interdisciplinarity in Action – Energy Cultures

Achieving a transition from one set of energy-related behaviours to another is a highly complex process. From an Energy Cultures perspective, energy behavior is the outcome of interactions between people’s expectations about energy services, the technologies they use, and the practices they undertake. These are in turn are influenced by factors beyond their control such as policy settings, energy prices and social marketing. Achieving behaviour change can be immensely difficult because of the tendency of these influences to support the status quo, and because of the heterogeneity in circumstances of energy users. The Energy Cultures team uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate these interactions, and has developed the Energy Cultures framework to support this research. The framework has proved to be surprisingly fruitful, and our presentation will focus on its three key functions as used in our research programme: as a concept, a framework and an organizing principle. In our presentation we will sequentially build up an understanding of the Energy Cultures framework with audience participation. We firstly develop the concept of ‘energy culture’ as a culture-based understanding of behaviour, which can assist with considering the heterogeneity of behaviour in different contexts and at different scales. Secondly, we explore it as a framework for helping depict the interactions of key factors that influence energy behaviours, as well as helping identify opportunities for change. The framework also illustrates different interpretations of energy behaviour. Thirdly, we will discuss how we have used the Energy Cultures framework as an organizing principle to help support interdisciplinary research.

Follow along with the presentation by downloading it here.