The grit in the oyster: using energy biographies to question socio-technical imaginaries of ‘smartness’

TitleThe grit in the oyster: using energy biographies to question socio-technical imaginaries of ‘smartness’
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGroves, C, Henwood, K, Shirani, F, Butler, C, Parkhill, K, Pidgeon, N
JournalJournal of Responsible Innovation
Date Published2016/01/02
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number2329-9460
AbstractABSTRACTIt has been argued that responsible research and innovation (RRI) requires critique of the ?worlds? implicated in the future imaginaries associated with new technologies. Qualitative social science research can aid deliberation on imaginaries by exploring the meanings of technologies within everyday practices, as demonstrated by Yolande Strengers? work on imaginaries of ?smartness?. In this paper, we show how a novel combination of narrative interviews and multimodal methods can help explore future imaginaries of smartness through the lens of biographical experiences of socio-technical changes in domestic energy use. In particular, this approach can open up a critical space around socio-technical imaginaries by exploring the investments that individuals have in different forms of engagement with the world. The paper works with a psychosocial conceptual framework that draws on theoretical resources from science and technology studies to explain how valued forms of subjectivity may be conceptualised as emerging out of the ?friction? of engagement with the world. Using this framework, we show how biographical narratives of engagement with technologies from the Energy Biographies project can extend into critical deliberation on future imaginaries. The paper demonstrates the value of ?thick? data relating to the affective dimensions of subjective experience for RRI.