Title: Complex systems and social practices in energy transitions: Framing Energy Sustainability in the Time of Renewables
Authors: BERTOLDI PAOLOMASCHIO ISABELLAPACI DANIELEFATH BRIAN D.RUZZENENTI FRANCOBAUWENS THOMASSHOVE ELIZABETHPALM JENNYELLEGÅRD KAJSAALLEN TIMOTHY F. H.TAINTER JOSEPHSHAW DUNCANGIAMPIETRO MARIOKOVACIC ZORAPADOVAN DARIOARROBBIO OSMANBYRNE DAVID S.BARTIAUX FRANÇOISEMOEZZI MITHRA
Editors: LABANCA NICOLA
Publisher: Springer
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC99267
URI: http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319337524
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC99267
Type: Books
Abstract: This book is the result of an interdisciplinary effort undertaken by a series of sociologists, physicists, engineers, economists, anthropologists, biologists, ecologists and policy analysts who participated or were involved in the discussions that took place during a round-table organized by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in February 2015. That gathering allowed discussing fundamental issues at stake with policies for energy sustainability that are largely neglected by stakeholders involved in policy making. The participating scholars decided hence to produce a publication that could hopefully serve to make the scientific community and policy makers more aware of the relevance of the analysis approaches proposed and of the insights that can be gained through their application. The book takes complementarity seriously and presents a double analysis perspective by taking complex systems and social practices as complementary references. It does so by acknowledging that Western societies have quite recently entered the age of complex systems and that our ideas and material artefacts are for this reason being shaped by a relatively new paradigm whereby complex systems are being extensively built. The first part of the book is indeed dedicated to discuss how complex systems are socially constructed and how they are framing the issue of energy sustainability within mainstream research fields. The second part analyses the ongoing transition to renewable energies and policies that can be generally implemented to conserve energy in the light of theories informed by complexity. On the other hand, the second and the third part discuss how complex systems take with them important drawbacks for energy sustainability that are linked to some phenomenological principles regulating their evolution. These drawbacks are mainly identified by adopting the alternative and complementary analysis perspective offered by social practice theories. Practice theories complementarity stems principally from their acknowledging of the primacy of practical knowledge over the abstract notions of energy, time and information that constitute some of the main elementary bricks whereby complex systems are being built. Axiomatically, this means that, rather than by very abstract concepts, the elementary units of the analyses performed under a practice theory perspective are given by the actions undertaken by people, by what people do and what people say. A series of contributions collected in the third part discusses therefore some main lessons for policy making that can be learnt by this complementarity and by integrating social practice and complex systems theories. Overall, the adopted analysis approach has then allowed drawing a series of relevant conclusions and indications for researches and policy makers involved in the ongoing energy transition that have been summarized in the fourth and final part of the book.
JRC Institute:Energy, Transport and Climate

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