This document examines the energy-related practices that take place in six case-study communities located in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. This exploration is conducted as part of a research project exploring the ‘human factor’ in the energy system, within which a complementary study of the perceptions and attitudes towards energy technologies has also been produced. Both of these studies are taking an intersectional approach to the analysis, recognising that people have multiple, interdependent, overlapping axes of social identity – these studies focus particularly on issues of gender, socio-economic privilege and age.
The purpose of the report is to move away from the dominant behaviouralist perspective – wherein people are treated as uniquely rational decision-makers – and introduce the very real social contexts through which they negotiate and understand their role within the energy system; with specific focus on their views on the energy technologies that comprise it. The underlying feelings, assumptions, associations and values held by the people who express them are very real influencing factors on the energy-related practices they engage in on a day-to- day basis.
Subsequently, a report will be produced synthesising these two intersectional analyses along with a range of socio-economic, technical, market and policy analyses from the ENTRUST project. It is intended that this report will be updated over the remaining duration of the project, based on ongoing dialogue with the communities; continued reflexive analysis of the collected data; and insights from complementary outputs (not least those mentioned above) with an updated report envisaged for release in quarter one, 2018.
The report is laid out into sections, with each one addressing a specific aspect of the work involved to produce this deliverable. The first part, Section 1 offers an overview of the study, exploring the background and context to the report and presenting is aims and objectives. Section 2 presents the philosophical and theoretical framework that underpins the research and examines how behaviours and practices intersect, especially in relation to energy-related practices. An important contribution to this approach has been the applying the key concept of ‘intersectionality’ that has helped move the research beyond the “single-axis analysis” taken elsewhere. Section 3 provides an overview of the methods used in the fieldwork and subsequent data analysis. Section 4 presents a reflexive account of the respective knowledges and understandings of the six case-study communities from ethnographic material generated from the research team’s engagements with the communities. Section 5 presents the findings of the research, collating them within key, overarching themes that emerged from our community engagements, and explores their meaning within the context of the overall research aims and objectives for this deliverable. The final part, Section 6 concludes the report with an overview of those key findings and how they can, as this research suggests, manifest into the energy-related practices seen in the six communities.