Call for papers: Energy transitions as societal transitions: Challenges for the present and the future

Start/Stop Date:
15 Dec 2013
Energy and society network
Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Focus Areas:
Energy transitions, societal transitions
Type of Event:

It is clear that energy transitions are strongly linked to wider societal change. Questions remain, however, regarding how these links can be characterized and whether proposed energy transitions currently place enough emphasis on the implied transformations to societal structures, including habits, life styles, social structures and norms. Further, it is unclear whether the extent of change and the sometimes quite radical implications for society are adequately captured in existing attempts to chart transitional pathways. Two key overarching concerns are at the centre of this conference. First, issues relating to whether non/changing societies are enabling or blocking wider technological or infrastructural transformations. This includes problems of societal acceptance, participation and living cultures, as well as political structures and the nature of contemporary societies (e.g. capitalist, neo-liberal societies). Second, questions about the ways that technological or infrastructural transition intersects with economic, cultural, social, and political routines. This incorporates concerns about environmental justice and capability effects and social sustainability that may be disrupted through technological and infrastructural transition.

We invite all researchers interested in the social aspects of energy transitions to submit abstracts for the 2nd Conference of the International Energy and Society Network, which will be held at the Institute of Sociology (Jagiellonian University), Krakow, Poland, on June 4-6, 2014.

The conference aims at bringing together researchers interested in the relations between energy and society, providing an opportunity for them to connect with others for the purpose of international exchange and possible research collaboration in this area. The conference will feature a keynote by a distinguished scholar in this field. In addition to thematic panels of regular paper presentations, the program will include workshops and scheduled time and space for discussions. Additionally, optional excursions will be organized, likely to include a visit to the Laboratory of RES and Energy Safe Technologies or to a Coal Mining site.

We encourage submissions on a wide variety of topics, including but not limited to the following:

  • Energy policies as public policies: social impacts of energy transitions, socially conscious shaping of transitions.
  • Structural changes to the energy system and changes in society: decentralization, shifts from “big players” to a multitude of actors, from consumer to prosumer.
  • Energy transition as local project: local initiatives, citizen power plants, local strategies, and the interplay of governance levels.
  • Conceptual approaches to energy transition research: existing concepts-new applications, innovations in theory.
  • Energy transition in context: national and regional conditions, paradigms and pathways, energy cultures.
  • Interlinking socio-technical systems: energy – water, energy – waste, energy – food.
  • Practice, materiality, energy and social change: innovations in practice, embeddedness, technology and change
  • Energy poverty, justice and development: energy poverty research and concepts, environmental justice, political and personal conceptions.
  • Public acceptability: implications for energy system transitions, approaches to understanding acceptability.
  • Energy demand, markets and innovation: the shaping of demand, implications of energy market innovation for demand.

Please send your abstracts of no more than 250 words by 15th of December 2013 via e-mail:

Notifications of acceptance will be given in January 2014
Full Papers are welcome but are not a requirement. Any full papers submitted will be distributed to the conference participants. A journal special issue is planned as an output of the conference.

More information will be available soon at

About the Energy and Society Network
The Energy and Society Network was established in 2010 by academics active in the European Sociological Association Research Network on Environment and Society and in the International Sociological Association Research Committee on Environment and Society. Over 140 researchers from Europe and elsewhere contributed to the first conference of the Energy and Society network, which was held in Lisbon in 2012 as a Midterm Conference of the ESA’s Research Network on Environment and Society. The network published a selection of papers from the first conference in a special issue of Nature+Culture due for release in 2014.

Scientific organizing committee
Marian Niezgoda Institute of Sociology - Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Aleksandra Wagner, Institute of Sociology - Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Maria Swiatkiewicz-Mosny, Institute of Sociology - Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Cigdem Adem, the Public Administration Institute for Turkey and the Middle East (Turkey)
Françoise Bartiaux, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium)
Catherine Butler, Cardiff University - School of Psychology (UK)
Ana Horta, Universidade de Lisboa - Instituto de Ciências Sociais (Portugal)
Matthias Groß, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and University of Jena (Germany)
Pia Laborgne, IWAR/TU Darmstadt and European Institute for Energy Research (Germany)
Giorgio Osti, Università degli Studi di Trieste - Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali (Italy)
André Schaffrin, Europäische Akademie  (Germany)
Luísa Schmidt, Universidade de Lisboa - Instituto de Ciências Sociais (Portugal)