Harold Langford Wilhite

Professor Emeritus
Image of Harold Langford Wilhite
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Phone 22 85 89 24
Mobile phone 924 05 980

Academic Interests

  • Social theoretical perspectives on energy consumption and conservation.
  • The politics of climate mitigation and energy reduction in OECD countries.
  • Social science perspective on the role of technology and the built environment on consumption practices.
  • New directions in development theory and practices.
  • The challenges of implementing renewable energies in Asia and Africa.
  • Bringing anthropologists and anthropological perspectives into the research domains of energy consumption and environmental amelioration.
  • Current research has a particular focus on social practice theory and its potential for renewing academic and policy debates on reducing energy consumption in the rich countries of the world.
  • The relationship between consumption, environmental impact and energy use in the domains of mobility, cleanliness, indoor comfort an how refrigeration affects food habits and whether (and how) it would be possible to move to a less refrigerated society.

Courses taught


  • Several projects in cooperation with Cree (Oslo Centre for Sustainable Energy) examining energy practices with emphasis on human - technology interactions.
  • Board member of the University of Oslo Interfaculty Program UiOenergy and co-leader of the annual solar energy PhD course in Tanzania


  • Wilhite currently leads a research unit at the Centre entitled Energy and Consumption.
  • He has engaged in research on energy conservation, international development and sustainable consumption in several parts of the world, including USA, Central America, Norway, Japan and most recently India.
  • One of the founders of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE), its first Director and is currently a member of the governing board.
  • Wilhite has participated in a number of international policy efforts on sustainable energy consumption, including those initiated by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) and the OECDs Environment Directorate.
  • A member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Energy Efficiency and the Low Carbon Economy. A regular reviewer for the Journal of Ecological Economics, the Journal of Industrial Ecology, Energy Policy, and the Journal of Consumer Culture.

Positions held

  • Lecturer and Assistant Professor of Mathematics, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, 1974 - 1978.
  • Lecturer in Mathematics, University of San Francisco, San Francis¬co, CA., 1979-1982.
  • Research Specialist, Department of Anthropology, University of Califor¬nia, Santa Cruz, CA., 1983-1984.
  • Senior research scientist, Gruppen for Ressursstudier (Resource Policy Group), NTNF, 1984-1988.
  • Director, Ressurskonsult A/S, Oslo, Norway, 1988 – 2001.
  • Research Fellow, Centre for Development and Environment, Un. of Oslo., 2001 – 2005.
  • Director, International Masters Program, Centre for Development and the Environment, Un. of Oslo, 2005 – 2007.
  • Research Director, Centre for Development and the Environment, 2007 – present.
  • Academic Director, University of Oslo Interfaculty Research Area: Environmental Change and Sustainable Energy, 2009 – present.
  • Professor of Social Anthropology, Centre for Development and the Environment, 2011 - present.


Tags: Consumption and Wellbeing, Global South, India, Energy and Climate


  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2018). Politics and Sustainability, In Rachel Beth Egenhoefer (ed.),  Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design.  Routledge.  ISBN 9781138650176.  Chapter 9.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2018). Refrigerating India. Science Museum Group Journal.  ISSN 2054-5770.  9
  • Halvorsen, Bente; Larsen, Bodil; Wilhite, Harold Langford & Winther, Tanja (2016). Revisiting household energy rebound: Perspectives from a multidisciplinary study. Indoor and Built Environment.  ISSN 1420-326X.  25(7), s 1114- 1123 . doi: 10.1177/1420326X16629725 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • Hansen, Arve; Nielsen, Kenneth Bo & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Staying Cool, Looking Good, Moving Around: Consumption, Sustainability and the ‘Rise of the South’. Forum for Development Studies.  ISSN 0803-9410.  43(1), s 5- 25 . doi: 10.1080/08039410.2015.1134640 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Hansen, Arve (2016). Introduction and background, In Harold Langford Wilhite & Arve Hansen (ed.),  Will the Paris agreement save the world? An analysis and critique of the governance roadmap set out in COP 21.  Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo.  ISBN 978-82-90391-65-7.  Chapter 1.  s 1 - 4
  • Nielsen, Kenneth Bo & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2015). The rise and fall of the ‘people's car’: middle-class aspirations, status and mobile symbolism in ‘New India’. Contemporary South Asia.  ISSN 0958-4935.  23(4), s 371- 387 . doi: 10.1080/09584935.2015.1090951
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2015). The problem of Habits for a Sustainable Transformation, In Karen V Lykke Syse & Martin Lee Mueller (ed.),  Sustainable Consumption and the Good Life.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-1138013001.  Chapter 6.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Guillen, Monica (2015). Wellbeing and sustainable consumption, In Wolfgang Glatzer; Laura Camfield; Valerie Møller & Mariano Rojas (ed.),  Global Handbook of Quality of Life: Exploration of Well-being of Nations and Continents.  Springer.  ISBN 978-94-017-9177-9.  Chapter 13.  s 301 - 317
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Hansen, Arve (2015). Reflections on the meta-practice of capitalism and its capacity for sustaining a low energy transformation, In Marie-Christine Zelem & Christoph Beslay (ed.),  Sociologie de l'énergie. Gouvernance et pratiques sociales.  CNRS Editions.  ISBN 978-2-271-08515-3.  Kapitell 2.  s 35 - 40
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & McNeill, Desmond (2015). Making sense of sustainable development in a changing world, In Arve Hansen & Ulrikke Bryn Wethal (ed.),  Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability: Theories, strategies, local realities.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-0-415-74732-5.  Chapter 3.  s 34 - 51
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford; Sovacool, B. K.; Ryan, S. E.; Stern, P. C.; Janda, K.; Rochlin, G.; Spreng, D.; Pasqualetti, Melanie & Lutzenhiser, L. (2015). Integrating social science in energy research. Energy Research & Social Science.  ISSN 2214-6296.  6, s 95- 99 . doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2014.12.005
  • Winther, Tanja & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2015). An analysis of the household energy rebound effect from a practice perspective: spatial and temporal dimensions. Energy Efficiency.  ISSN 1570-646X.  8(3), s 595- 607 . doi: 10.1007/s12053-014-9311-5 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Winther, Tanja & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2015). Tentacles of modernity: why electricity needs anthropology. Cultural anthropology.  ISSN 0886-7356.  30(4), s 569- 577 . doi: 10.14506/ca30.4.05 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Horta, Ana; Wilhite, Harold Langford; Schmidt, Luisa & Bartiaux, Francoise (2014). Socio-technical and Cultural Approaches to Energy Consumption: An Introduction. Nature and Culture.  ISSN 1558-6073.  9(2), s 115- 121 . doi: 10.3167/nc.2014.090201
  • Sahakian, Marlyne & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Making practice theory practicable: Towards more sustainable forms of consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture.  ISSN 1469-5405.  14(1), s 25- 44 . doi: 10.1177/1469540513505607
  • Wallenborn, Gregoire & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Rethinking embodied knowledge and household consumption. Energy Research & Social Science.  ISSN 2214-6296.  1, s 56- 64 . doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2014.03.009
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). A low energy transformation will demand a disembodying of the Growth imperative, In Linda Sygne (ed.),  Transformation in a Changing Climate.  Universitetet i Oslo.  ISBN 978-82-570-2001-9.  Kapittel.  s 83 - 89
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Changing Consumption and the Negotiation of Gender Roles in Kerala, In Kenneth Bo Nielsen & Anne Waldrop (ed.),  Women, Gender and Everyday Social Transformation in India.  Anthem Press.  ISBN 9781783082698.  4.  s 63 - 73
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Insights from social practice and social learning theory for sustainable energy consumption. Flux.  ISSN 1154-2721.  96(2), s 24- 30
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Les effets de l'étau du développement et des pressions environnementales: conséquences sur le mode de vie des populations des forêts indiennes, I: Charlotte Breda; Melanie Chaplie; Julie Hermesse & Emmanuele Piccoli (red.),  Terres (Dés) Humanisées: Ressources et Climat.  L'Harmattan.  ISBN 978-2-8061-0173-0.  3.  s 193 - 210
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Sustainability as Social Practice: New Perspectives on the Theory and Polices of Reducing Energy Consumption, In Stewart Lockie; David Sonnenfeld & Dana Fisher (ed.),  The Routledge Handbook of Social and Environmental Change.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-0-415-78279-1.  kapittel 11.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). The body in consumption: perspectives from India, In Dale Southerton & Alistair Ulph (ed.),  Sustainable Consumption Sustainable Consumption: Multi-disciplinary Perspectives In Honour of Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta.  Oxford University Press.  ISBN 978-0-19-967935-5.  Chapter 13.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2013). Energy consumption as cultural practice: implications for the theory and policy of sustainable energy use, In Sarah Strauss; Stephanie Rupp & Thomas Love (ed.),  Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies.  Left Coast Press Inc..  ISBN 978-1-61132-165-4.  Part 1, Chapter 2.  s 60 - 73
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). A Socio-Cultural Analysis of Changing Household Electricity Consumption in India, In daniel spreng (ed.),  Tackling Long-Term Global Energy Problems: The Contributions of Social Science.  Springer.  ISBN 978-94-007-2332-0.  Kapittel 6.  s 97 - 115
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). The Energy Dilemma, In Kenneth Bo Nielsen & Kristian Bjørkdahl (ed.),  Development and Environment: Practices, Theories, Policies.  Akademisk Forlag.  ISBN 9788232100330.  5.  s 81 - 97
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). Towards a better accounting of the roles of body, things and habits in consumption. Collegium : Studies across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.  ISSN 1796-2986.  12, s 87- 100
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). Energy consumption, In Dale Southerton (ed.),  Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture.  Sage Publications.  ISBN 978-0-8728-9601-7.  volume 1.  s 525 - 527
  • Aasen, Marianne; Westskog, Hege; Wilhite, Harold Langford & Lindberg, Marie Byskov (2010). The EU electricity disclosure from the business perspective-A study from Norway. Energy Policy.  ISSN 0301-4215.  38(12), s 7921- 7928 . doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.09.013 Show summary
  • Johannessen, Silje & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Who really benefits from Fairtrade? An analysis of value distribution in Fairtrade coffee. Globalizations.  ISSN 1474-7731.  7(4), s 525- 544 . doi: 10.1080/14747731.2010.505018
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). The Conditioning of Comfort. Building Research & Information.  ISSN 0961-3218.  37(1), s 84- 88 . doi: 10.1080/09613210802559943
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). New thinking on the agentive relationship between end-use technologies and energy-using practices. Energy Efficiency.  ISSN 1570-646X.  1(2), s 121- 130 . doi: 10.1007/s12053-008-9006-x
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Nilsson, Hans Christer (2008). Breaking out of the energy efficiency box. Energy Efficiency.  ISSN 1570-646X.  1(2), s 105- 106 . doi: 10.1007/s12053-008-9014-x
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2007). India - Forbruk i endring, utfordringer for miljø. Internasjonal Politikk.  ISSN 0020-577X.  4-07, s 21- 33

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  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). The Political Economy of Low Carbon Transformation: Breaking the Habits of Capitalism. Routledge.  ISBN 978-1-13-881717-3.  136 s.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Hansen, Arve (ed.) (2016). Will the Paris agreement save the world? An analysis and critique of the governance roadmap set out in COP 21. Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo.  ISBN 978-82-90391-65-7.  80 s.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). The conditioning of comfort. Routledge.  ISBN 0-415-55089-0.  6 s.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). Consumption and the Transformation of Everyday Life: A View From South India. Palgrave Macmillan.  ISBN 978-0-230-54254-9.  205 s.

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  • Mourik, Ruth; Jeuken, Yvette; de Zeeuw, Mariska; Uitdenbogerd, Diana; van Summeren, Luc; Wilhite, Harold Langford; Robison, Rosie; Heidenreich, Sara; Blahová, Michaela; Pidoux, Blandine; Kern-Gillard, Thomas; Arrobbio, Osman; Throndsen, William; Fox, Emmet; Nikolaev, Angel; Radulov, Lulin; Sari, Ramazan; Sumpf, Patrick & Balint, Lenke (2017). Energy efficiency and using less – a social sciences and humanities annotated bibliography. Full text in Research Archive.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Diamond, Rick (2017). Do smart homes know what people want and allow them to realize it?.
  • Hansen, Arve; Wilhite, Harold Langford; Bang, Guri; Stensrud, Astrid Bredholt; Torvanger, Asbjørn & Vetlesen, Arne Johan (2016). Klimaavtalen i Paris: viktig men utilstrekkelig. SUM-bloggen.
  • Waldrop, Anne; Nielsen, Kenneth Bo; Standal, Karina & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Editor's Introduction. Special Issue on Family and Gender in Globalising India. Asia in Focus.  ISSN 2446-0001.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Et grønt skifte er umulig i et kapitalistisk samfunn. Forskning.no : nettavis med nyheter fra norsk og internasjonal forskning.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Gender and Energy.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Klimakrisen krever en omfattende omstilling: Hvorfor handler vi ikke?.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2016). Refrigerating India.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2015). New frontiers in applying social and material perspetives to research on energy consumption and savings.
  • Winther, Tanja; Wilhite, Harold Langford & Holsten, Hilde Hartmann (2015, 14. desember). Life changes with electricity. [Fagblad].  ScienceNordic. Show summary
  • Winther, Tanja; Wilhite, Harold Langford & Holsten, Hilde Hartmann (2015, 11. desember). Livet forandrer seg når folk får strøm. [Fagblad].  forskning.no.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Applying a practice perspective to researching rebound.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). New Frontiers in Researching Energy 'Behavior'.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Reflections on the theory and policies of a low carbon transformation.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). Why energy is a social good and what this means for energy savings Research and policy agendas.
  • Winther, Tanja & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2014). The effect of direct feedback on people's electricity practices.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2013). A low-energy transformation will demand a disembodying of the growth imperative.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2013). Articulating the body in the theorizing of consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2013). Unlocking energy-intensive habits.
  • Winther, Tanja & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2013). Rebound from a practice perspective. Towards a better understanding of people's interactions with heat pumps in Norway.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). Energi er en sosialvare: Implikasjoner for bærekraftighet.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). Insights from social practice and social learning theory and their implications for sustainable energy consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). Losing sight of Northern dilemmas? Reducing energy intensity and consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). The body in consumption: perspectives from India.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). The problem of habits for a low energy transformation: what are they, why have we missed them and how do they change?.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). The space accorded to the social science of energy is (finally) expanding: Where can we draw inspiration?.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2012). Transformasjon til et lavenergisamfunn: hindringer og behov for nytenkning.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford; Elverhøi, Anders; Bakken, Vebjørn; Winther, Tanja; Braa, Kristin & Geirbo, Hanne Cecilie (2012). Social impacts of electricity in rural areas.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Hansen, Arve (2012). Reflections on the meta-practice of capitalism and its capacity for sustainaing a low energy transformation.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). A double edged sword for forest dwellers in India: Pressures on livelihoods from both environmental programs and growing elite consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). Energy, Environment and Development, 2nd edition. IDPR. International Development Planning Review.  ISSN 1474-6743.  33(2), s 243- 245
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). The dilemmas that won't go away: Unbounded consumption and growth.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). The energy dilemmas and the need for greater focus on consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). The role of social sciences in energy transitions.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2011). Towards a better accounting of the roles of body, things and routines in consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Anthropological perspectives on practice theory and efforts to reduce energy consumption.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Bringing a more robust theory of consumption to the sustainable energy agenda.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Innovative energy policy: Unexploited potentials from the social sciences.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Norway's role in the international cooperation on the environment: The UN REDD Climate-Forest Initiative, In Maris Klavins; Walter Filho & Janis Zaloknsnis (ed.),  Environment and Sustainable Development.  Academic Press of University of Latvia.  ISBN 978-9984-45-234-0.  Case study.  s 186 - 188
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Researching globalizing consumption from the bottom up: A view from India.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Responding to the sustainable consumption challenge.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). The persistent representation of forest dwellers as offenders in environmental regimes: Consequences and the potential for new thinking.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Why interfaculty and interdisciplinary environmental research at the University of Oslo.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Work migration and consumption: A view from Kerala, India.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford & Winther, Tanja (2010). Gi oss flere negawatt. Stømsparing i Norge er det fraværende alternitivet i energi- og miljø debatten. Klassekampen.  ISSN 0805-3839.  (217)
  • Winther, Tanja & Wilhite, Harold Langford (2010). Gi oss flere negawatt. Klassekampen.  ISSN 0805-3839.  s 16
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Behavioural change in society.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Contributors to stability and change in household consumption practices.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Cross-cultural perspectives on energy consumption and conservation.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). ENØK - hvorfor får vi det ikke til og hva skal til for å endre dette?.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Energy consumption as cultural practice: implications for the theory and policy of sustainable energy use.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Energy is a social good: implications for behavioural research and energy efficiency policy.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Norway and the global environment: contributions and contradictions in the path to sustainability.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2009). Social demand and consumer behavior: conceptual issues and innovative approaches.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford; Lien, Marianne Elisabeth & Elverhøi, Anders (2009). Klimasatsning på tvers. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).  ISSN 0804-3116.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). Development Durable.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). Energi er en sosialvare, implikasjoner for bærekraftig bruk.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). Forest ecosystems in India: clashes over socio-legal rights and environmental amelioration.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). People in or people out? Dilemmas and conflicts concerning tribal peoples and forest ecosystems in India.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2008). Renewable energy from the bottom up: a pro-active approach to accommodating local socio-cultural contexts.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2007). Changing Energy Consumption: Why it happens and how it can be made to happen.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2007). Emerging India, Challenges for the Environment.
  • Wilhite, Harold Langford (2007). Vil klimautfordring forandre oss og vårt forhold til bruk av energi.

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Published Aug. 15, 2011 2:53 PM - Last modified Sep. 7, 2016 10:05 AM