Energy Cultures - A Framework for Interdisciplinary Research

Janet Stephenson
Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Rob Lawson
Marketing Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Gerry Carrington
Physics Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Barry Barton
School of Law, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Paul Thorsnes
Economics Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110571023

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:36, s. 1023-1030

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


The Energy Cultures framework aims to assist in understanding the factors that influence energy consumption behaviour; and to help identify opportunities for behaviour change. Building on a history of attempts to offer multi-disciplinary integrating models of energy behaviour; we take a culture-based approach to behaviour; while drawing also from cultural theories; actor-network theory; socio-technical systems; and lifestyles literature. The framework provides a structure for addressing the problem of multiple interpretations of ‘behaviour’ by suggesting that it is influenced by the interactions between cognitive norms; energy practices and material culture. By conceptualising the research arena; the framework creates a common point of reference for the multi-disciplinary research team. The Energy Cultures framework has proven to be unexpectedly fruitful. It has assisted in the design of the 3-year research programme; which includes a number of different qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In application to a given example; it helps to position the complex drivers of behaviour change. Although the framework has not yet been fully tested as to its ability to help integrate findings from our various research methods; we believe the Energy Cultures framework has promise in furthering interdisciplinary studies of energy behaviours in a wide variety of situations; being relevant to different contexts and different scales.


Household energy behaviour; Theoretical framework; Multi-disciplinary; Research design


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