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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Society and Energy

The Society and Energy Research Cluster at DEI is fundamentally interdisciplinary, drawing on the expertise of a wide range of social and physical science disciplines across the University. The ambition of the cluster is to develop new theoretical approaches to current energy research challenges based on the conception of energy systems as socio-technical; that is, on the understanding that energy systems are coproduced through relations between constituent social and technical elements.

The Society and Energy cluster aims to develop our understanding of the energy challenges facing society, and, in particular, their implications for policies, practices and interventions that address vulnerability, security, equity and sustainability.

The group has strong links to industry, government and community organisations at local, international and transnational levels.

Download our Society and Energy research expertise flier.

Core themes and research activities

Colleagues within the Society and Energy research cluster are currently approaching these core concerns through a number of interconnected domains:

  • Geopolitics, governance and policy: investigating the process through which energy governance is being conducted at a variety of scales, with a particular interest in issues of energy security
  • Energy systems in transition: examining the ways in which 'low carbon' transitions are taking place across energy systems.
  • Low carbon and resilient communities: examining the role of communities in sustainable energy futures.
  • Energy for Development: working with communities globally to understand how we can ensure that new energy systems are optimised and fit-for-purpose, and designed to meet the real needs of communities now and into the future, including off-grid and renewable transitions in energy livelihoods.
  • Energy use and practices: investigating the factors that shape energy use and practice, and the ways in which these may evolve in the context of the low carbon transition.
  • Visual culture and energy: exploring the cultural landscape of energy and energy resources through cultural imaginary, visual art, and cultural memory, exploring how this shapes the future possibilities of managing energy transitions.