Call for papers: energy transitions in the global South workshop

9:00 AM 23 January - 5:00 PM 24 January 2020
Eindhoven University of Technology , Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, Netherlands

In the last decade, a range of social scientific and philosophical work has emerged on energy transitions in the global South. There are three gaps in this literature.

  1. First, much of the literature is concerned with transitions on the level of (inter)national energy systems, while there is less attention for the political and ethical consequences these transitions would have on people’s everyday lived experiences.
  2. Second, the literature falls short of interrogating the unintended consequences of (rapidly) ramping up energy transitions and therefore only now has begun to capture issues like energy poverty, democracy, justice and waste.
  3. Third, most work on energy transitions has engaged with a limited number of theoretical approaches such as transition studies, political economy, practice theory or governmentality studies.

This workshop considers energy transitions in a broad empirical and conceptual sense. Their aim is twofold:

  1. expanding the empirical and conceptual investigations of energy transitions by considering a number of less investigated issues, and
  2. expanding the range of theoretical approaches through which to study and understand energy transitions.

They are looking for theoretical and empirical contributions addressing the origins, lives and afterlives of energy transitions that deal with (but are not limited to):

  • Relevant but less explored theoretical frameworks like postcolonialism, critical development studies, assemblage theory, capability theory, etc. (for example: Castán Broto et al., 2018). 
  • Political visions and value judgements embedded in energy technology/system design, ethical questions that project/product designs raise (for example: Balls and Fischer, 2019; Cross, 2019b; Höffken, 2016; Pols, 2017)
  • Socio-cultural aspects (gender, class, caste) of energy access, poverty, justice, citizenship and community (for example: Kumar, 2018, 2019; Ockwell et al., 2018)
  • Humanitarian capitalism, social entrepreneurship, energy markets and financing of projects and individuals (for example: Balls, 2016; Cross, 2019a)
  • Various issues of upscaling designs, projects and ideas (for example: Kirshner et al., 2019; Turner, 2019)
  • The agency and vibrancy of devices like solar lanterns and smart meters (for example: Cross, 2013)
  • Maintenance and endurance of energy transition initiatives (for example: Kumar et al., 2019)
  • Issues of impact measurement and assessment
  • Socio-cultural impacts of failed projects
  • Issues of material waste from solar panels, extraction and industrial production
  • Global networks and material flows of energy transitions

They aim for about 30 participants for the workshop with about 15 paper presentations.

Submitting a paper

If you would like to participate in the discussions without presenting a paper, please send an email with your details and explaining your interest in the workshop to by 15 August 2019.

The organisers will inform the selected participants by 30 August 2019. Those selected for paper presentations are expected to submit a 3000 word paper by 30 November for discussion in the workshop. Routledge has expressed keen interest in publishing an edited volume from this workshop. Selected abstracts will form part of the full book proposal.


The university have limited funds for travels for junior researchers and participants from the global South whose papers have been accepted for a presentation. Please mention your funding needs along with your abstract submission. They are also working to make remote participation possible to make the workshop more inclusive.

This workshop marks the end of a four-year project, titled ‘Developing and Implementing Smart Grids in India’. Project no. 313-99-307, which is funded under the Responsible Innovation (MVI) programme of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). More information on this project can be found on