Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice

Strengers, Y, Maller, C and Nicholls, L 2014, 'Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice', Journal of Consumer Culture, vol. online, pp. 1-20.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Curious energy consumers: Humans and nonhumans in assemblages of household practice
Author(s) Strengers, Y
Maller, C
Nicholls, L
Year 2014
Journal name Journal of Consumer Culture
Volume number online
Start page 1
End page 20
Total pages 20
Publisher Sage Publications
Abstract In international energy policy, programmes and consumer research, a dominant ideal consumer is emerging. This consumer is typically a human adult who has the agency to make autonomous, functional and rational decisions about his or her household's energy consumption. This article seeks to disrupt this dominant anthropocentric conceptualisation of the consumer and provide new ways of knowing and potentially intervening in the lives of energy consumers. Drawing on qualitative research conducted with householders living in Sydney, Australia, and theories of practice, materiality and agency from sociology and science and technology studies, we seek to understand consumers as human and nonhuman actants operating in distributed assemblages of practice. We explore the implications of conceptualising non-traditional consumers of energy, such as babies, pets, pests and pool pumps, as performers of or materials in practices that consume energy. Our analysis provides new ways of potentially intervening in patterns of energy consumption. We argue that policy makers need to refocus their attention on finding routes into assemblages of practice to achieve change. We conclude by calling for further exploration and recognition of the myriad curious consumers found in households.
Subject Social and Cultural Geography
Environment Policy
Social Theory
Keyword(s) Consumers
energy consumption
distributed agency
social practices
DOI - identifier 10.1177/1469540514536194
Copyright notice © The Authors 2014
ISSN 1741-2900
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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