JRC Lunch Time Science Lecture: Complex Systems and Social Practices in Energy Transitions

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JRC Lunch Time Science Lecture on “Complex Systems and Social Practices in Energy Transitions- Framing Energy Sustainability in the Time of Renewables”.

The Lecture has built on some of the studies presented in a new book discussing how complex systems and social practice theories reframe the issue of energy sustainability in the time of renewables. In particular, it has proposed discussing current energy transitions in the light of the insights that can be gained through an historical enquiry on instrumentality. The proposed account has allowed interpreting complex systems as the result of some fundamental transformations related to how human artefacts have been conceived in Western societies. These transformations can be characterised in terms of a progressive process of disembodiment and abstraction whereby, among other things, the notions of energy and information have been changed into quantifiable resource units regulating all activities and functions performed by people and any other biological entity. On the one hand, the proposed account has offered the possibility to discuss how these notions are currently framing the issue of energy sustainability within mainstream research fields and some relevant drawbacks linked to how they are used to organise societies. On the other hand, it has allowed illustrating a) how energy and information have nowadays to be considered as central metaphors around which the rituals generated by complex systems are arranged and b) how complex systems tend to generate a process of dis-embedding whereby they escape social control while reinforcing a perception of resources scarcity.

To find out more about the book, and to browse authors bios and chapters abstracts, please visit its page on our website.

A recording of the event is available here.

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