CfP Association of Social Anthropologists 2020 ASA2020 Panel 'Who Speaks for Energy?'

Pauline Destree's picture
Call for Papers
March 15, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Environmental History / Studies, Geography, Political Science, Public Policy

Dear colleagues,

We are inviting submissions to our panel “Who Speaks for Energy? Responsibility and Authority in the Ethnographies of Energy in an Era of Anthropogenic Climate Change” at the ASA 2020 Conference on Responsibility in St Andrews, taking place this August 24-27.

 *Abstract Deadline*: 15th March 2020

 P7 - Who speaks for Energy? Responsibility and Authority in the Ethnographies of Energy in an Era of Anthropogenic Climate Change.

 Sub-Theme: Who speaks, and for whom?

 Panel Convenors: Sean Field (University of St Andrews)

      Pauline Destrée (University of St Andrews)

      Mette High (University of St Andrews)


Energy is a necessity of life. How energy is harvested from the environment, however, and the repercussions of energy consumption, are of growing public concern and a central contributor to anthropogenic climate change. In a global yet highly unequal energy economy, questions of responsibility and authority are crucial to understanding the entangled social and material complexities of our energy present(s) and futures.

This panel explores the ethical tensions and power dynamics vested in the social worlds of energy production, consumption, distribution and disposal. We ask: How are responsibility and authority crafted, accepted and challenged by those who speak for energy? And, in turn, by the people, communities, and non-humans that are dependent on and adversely affected by human energy practices?  How do non-humans figure in energy dilemmas? Can, and should they be represented in the anthropology of energy, and by whom? How do we reconcile analysis of the energy sector’s provision of global energy needs and contribution to climate change with the voices, stories, beliefs, ethical sensibilities, lives and livelihoods of people who work in the fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy industries? Do anthropologists have a responsibility to avoid favouring or opposing some energy sources and voices over others?  How do we, as anthropologists, navigate the ethical tensions of working with conflicting voices and demands for representation in a highly contentious field?

This panel welcomes papers that reflect on the ethical challenges, tensions, and opportunities associated with ethnographically researching energy from field sites around the world.

Please submit abstracts through the conference website by the *15th March*:

For any questions about this panel, please email Sean Field (, Pauline Destrée ( or Mette High (


Contact Info: 

Dr Pauline Destrée, Research Fellow - Energy Ethics ERC Project, Department of Social Anthropology, University of St Andrews

Contact Email: