A social practice perspective on the smart grid

Today citizens are being ascribed increasingly (re)active roles in sustainable development, as captured in concepts such as ‘prosumers’. As prosumers, citizens are often still subordinated to larger and top-down socio-technical agendas, such as local energy production and ‘load management’ in smart grid districts. Further, the effects of such agendas are often unrealized, partly due to an underestimation of the power and complexity of social practices and partly because ‘lock-ins’ and ‘rebound effects’ in consumption habits continue to counter efficiency gains.

A social practice perspective may open up new opportunities for understanding and potentially change everyday practices in a sustainable direction. The perspective entails that human actions are viewed as part of an ecological system rather than isolated phenomena. They are considered as part of a whole. This may facilitate for a reformulation of the commonly posed question “How may we change people’s behaviour?” to more fruitful formulations in terms of relationships and dependencies between for instance everyday practices and electricity companies.

In this paper and demo session, we aim to explore these challenges and potential approaches. Relevant methods include those for studying and developing sustainable “social practices” such as less resource-intensive ways of bathing, commuting, cooking, gardening and other ways of living that make up daily lifestyles. Further, the intervention of design prototypes or participatory design situations can involve citizens in-depth in trying out and proactively developing alternative ways of living and visions of the future.

Time and date: Wednesday 27 August AM, Please observe that this will be an half day workshop!

Room C09 Clarion Hotel

Organizer: Cecilia Katzeff, Annelise de Jong, Interactive Swedish ICT

Contact: cecilia.katzeff@tii.se, annelise@tii.se

Price: 200 SEK excl. VAT