Energy citizenship: A critical perspective

TitleEnergy citizenship: A critical perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsSilvast, A, Valkenburg, G
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
KeywordsCitizenship, Democracy, Energy Citizenship, Energy systems, Participation

The centrality of energy for daily life entails that citizens' relations to energy need particular attention, to the extent that it might merit a specific concept of energy citizenship. However, the academic literature on energy citizenship has remained small even if it is growing, the concept itself underspecified, and focused on a narrow set of topics that leave many core social science insights on both citizenship and energy governance unaddressed. In this perspective, we analyze the concept of energy citizenship as it is used in the current energy research literature and develop reflections on how and why current approaches do not seem to trigger further specification of the concept. We carry this discussion forward by refining the concept and proposing a new agenda for future energy citizenship research areas. We conclude with three primary outcomes that require more attention when juxtaposing energy and citizenship: the question of who counts as a ‘citizen’ in energy citizenship initiatives, interrelations between democratic cultures and citizenship, and diverse citizenships enacted among various kinds of energy infrastructure.