energy citizen, justice, consumerism, energy transition, energy democracy
Given the deep, transformative and systemic changes needed to transition to low-carbon energy configurations, the current level of socio-political discourse remains calcified around classic understandings of the role of the citizen and normative representations of participation. These are almost exclusively framed in terms of consumption behaviors and practices. This merging of citizenship and consumerism is deeply problematic on a number of levels. By narrowly defining the potential of citizens to the singular role of consumer, there is a very real risk we will not achieve the socio-technical transformations that must take place if we are to mitigate against runaway climate change. This essay explores these issues in the context of a growing body of literature on competing energy democracy imaginaries. Significant barriers remain, from misunderstandings of what constitutes participation to the roles and expectations placed on citizens who must contend with the growing inequalities already locked into existing democratic structures.
Nadesan, M.H., Pasqualetti, M.J. and Keahey, J.