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date: 20 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses energy systems and energy transformations from a perspective on culture. First, it outlines three essential elements of energy cultures: everyday practices as ground layer, collective representations of the order of energy as second layer, and knowledge as a dynamic link mediating between these layers. The subsequent two sections use the examples of sustainable electricity in the European Union and Germany, as well as various efforts to create more sustainable ways of heating and housing, to illustrate how energy cultures operate and how they become particularly visible when contested. The suggested perspective, therefore, analyzes such transformations in terms of knowledge struggles in which different actors seek to promote their envisioned energy cultures. Utilizing specific knowledge-centered practices, these actors attempt to intervene in everyday practices of energy production, use, and distribution, as well as in collective representations of the roles, values, and meanings of energy within a society.

Keywords: energy, culture, practice, knowledge struggles, energy transformations, European Union, Germany, electricity, heating

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