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About the 2017 Energy Democracy Symposium

About the 2017 Energy
Democracy Symposium

The Communication Institute at the University of Utah is hosting the Energy Democracy Symposium. The theme for this symposium is: “Energy Democracy: Creating a Research Agenda.”

The goal of this symposium is to chart out a new research agenda in energy democracy that: 1) fosters collaboration between scholars in Communication, STS, and interdisciplinary energy studies; 2) results in a white paper that identifies research streams in energy democracy; and 3) and prioritizes transdisciplinary scholarship that seeks to bridge divides between academia, local energy practitioners, and publics.

What is Energy Democracy?

Understanding the full spectrum of research, development, and subsequent deployment of energy technologies is one of the most profound sustainability challenges facing society. Rapid technological and social changes have positioned energy, especially electricity, at the crux of complex policy debates that are especially acute in democratic regimes, and offer unprecedented opportunity to experiment with new forms of governance. We propose that communication and interdisciplinary scholars interested in the social dimensions of energy need to develop new research pathways that will discover ways to encourage more participatory democracy in relation to energy policy in the United States. Energy democracy refers to an emergent social movement that re-imagines energy consumers as prosumers, or innovators, designers and analysts who are involved in decisions at every stage of this sector, from production through consumption. Yet, research on and theoretical development of energy democracy lags behind this growing movement among publics and energy practitioners. Similar to the way environmental justice is both a movement and an academic research program, we propose the development of an engaged research program that offers an avenue for further elaboration of the broad range of actors, democratic values, democratic functions, and governance sites that are involved in the practice of energy democracy.

For more information, contact Dr. Danielle Endres: | 801-585-7308

Last Updated: 8/12/23