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The making of energy evidence: How exclusions of Social Sciences and Humanities are reproduced (and what researchers can do about it)

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 15:24 authored by Sarah Royston, Chris Foulds
Overland and Sovacool (2020) and Baum and Bartkowski (2020), in this journal, have provided important insights on the neglect of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in energy and sustainability research. In this response, we develop this conversation further, arguing that the commissioning and funding of energy research can be understood as part of a process of making evidence, which is co-constructive with policy-making. This helps us analyse how exclusions of SSH within the energy research-policy landscape are reproduced, and, crucially, to identify opportunities for change. We draw on concepts from Science and Technology Studies regarding the co-construction of knowledges and policies; epistemic communities; and the active role of expectations and imaginaries around energy evidence, and we apply these to empirical material from workshops with EU policyworkers, and analysis of key documents relating to European energy research and policy. We explore ways that SSH are excluded through expectations around: i) the research enterprise and purpose of evidence; ii) the contributions of different SSH communities, iii) how different epistemic communities should work together; and iv) validity and rigour. Finally, we offer some reflections for research professionals and research funding organisations who wish to integrate SSH more meaningfully into energy research and policy, including suggestions around actors; documents; and the processes of reviewing and monitoring that are involved in the making of energy evidence.



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Energy Research & Social Science





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