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Humanizing Socio-technical Systems with Energy Justice


Poverty, climate change and energy security demand awareness about the interlinkages between energy and social justice. Amidst these challenges, energy justice has emerged to provide all individuals, across all areas, with safe, affordable and sustainable energy. Simultaneously, new social and technological solutions have continued to evolve, and interest in the concept of sociotechnical transitions has grown. However, one social element often missing from such transitions frameworks is explicit engagement with ethics and justice. Despite the development of an embryonic set of literature around these themes, an obvious research gap has emerged; how these research agendas may be combined. Through an exploration of the multi-level perspective on sociotechnical systems and an integration of energy justice at the model’s niche, regime and landscape level, this presentation delivers a call for greater engagement with justice concepts when planning for sustainability transitions. I will argue that it is within the overarching process of socio-technical change that issues of energy justice emerge, where inattention to social justice issues can cause injustices, or via their inclusion can provide a means to solve them.


Dr Kirsten Jenkins┬áis a Research Fellow at the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand. Kirsten joined SPRU in December 2016 and works on a wide range of research projects focusing on energy justice and energy transitions. Kirsten completed a ESRC-funded PhD entitled “Discourses of Energy Justice: The Case of Nuclear Energy” at the University of St Andrews in 2016. She holds two previous degrees with specialisms in energy and society, an MRes in Sustainable Development and a BSc in Sustainable Development, both from the University of St Andrews also. Alongside her role at CIED Kirsten serves as the Early Career Representative for the Energy Geographies Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with IBG.