Bergen, 28 Feb. - 2 March 2017


People, Responsibilities and the Contested Futures of Energy Developments


People, Responsibilities and the Contested Futures of Energy Developments

Call for Papers, panels, exhibitions

Increasingly, we are encountering the effects of more than a century marked by an accelerated pace and intensity of resource extraction and energy developments on an expanding scale. More extreme forms of extraction involving tar sands, shale and coal seam gas are recent examples of the evolving nature of the challenges that those who are most affected have to deal with on a daily basis. Energy infrastructure is becoming more ubiquitous and is driving the transformations of cities and households. Renewable energy transitions are fuelling imaginaries of living off- and beyond the grid.

Social scientists worldwide are engaged in research, policy-making and grassroots action that aims to highlight the social, health, environmental and political impacts related to energy developments. These efforts document the effect of energy on local communities, shedding new light on the relationship between energy and power. They help us understand how impacts are distributed among different populations and regions and define notions of social vulnerability and responsibility on the part of the major players. Social science engagement with this topic has linked energy to its contextual circumstances, everyday imaginaries and practices as well as the cultural, political and historical roots of energy flows and the human use of energy.

Energy transforms the world and empowers a wide array of human endeavours. However, in addition to the notions of progress and boom, it has also been central to the images of bust, collapse and a problematic recovery. The challenges stemming from the ways in which energy is produced, circulated, distributed, consumed or conserved are not merely technological but instead, they are inextricably linked with human worldviews, perceptions, cosmologies as well as human-environment interactions. This makes the futures of energy developments a widely contested issue and in the last resort, it could affect the dynamics of social and political forms.

We invite participants from all social science disciplines as well as grassroots practitioners and members of communities affected by energy developments to explore these broad areas and other related topics by proposing:

  • individual or group presentations of their work;

  • panel or a workshop (including a list of potential participants);

  • exhibition.

Please email a short abstract of maximum 200 words to anna.szolucha [at] and stale.knudsen [at] to register your interest. The deadline for abstracts is 5. December 2016.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be available to non-academic practitioners as well as PhD students and early career researchers based in Europe. These bursaries are aimed to enable them to attend the conference. Persons who would like to avail of this opportunity will be asked to submit a brief statement, detailing the reasons for their interest in the conference and their financial circumstances.

We are also happy to announce that a new Energy Anthropology Network will be officially launched during this event. The Network will be affiliated with the European Association of Social Anthropologists. Membership as well as the Network’s workshops will be open to all conference participants.


Further information: