Haarstad and Wanvik in top ranked journal

The paper “Carbonscapes and beyond – conceptualizing the instability of oil landscapes”, authored by Håvard Haarstad and Tarje Wanvik, has been accepted to Progress in Human Geography, one of the top ranked journals in geography.

The article is about how we as scholars in social science and human geography theorize around energy landcapes and energy transformations .

– We believe that the social sciences too often emphasizes the stability of our relationship with energy systems, says Tarje Wanvik. Our conventional theories explain quite well why change does not happen. Yet we see that in reality, change happens much more rapid in many areas.

In the article, they go through several theoretical approaches that are being used to analyze the relationship between energy and society, and argues that these do not sufficiently take into account changes and instability. As an answer to this, the two scholars outline a theoretical framework that builds on assemblage theory developed by Manuel DeLanda. This theory breaks with a central premise in much of the theoretical universe of the social sciences – that energy system works much like an organism with densely interconnected parts.

– Assemblage theory looks at social units, such as the energy system, as more temporary and unstable, says Håvard Haarstad. A single event or innovation can have major repercussions, if they ‘hit’ correctly. An example of this is how the nuclear plant disaster in Japan triggered major changes in energy policy in Germany.

– Our concern is to give these complex relationships greater emphasis in our academic explanations within the social sciences.

The article has been published online, in anticipation of a printed edition. Progress in Human Geography is ranked as the second best journal in geography internationally and has an impact factor of approximately 5.00.

The article can be downloaded on Progress in Human Geography.

This post in Norwegian