Hal Wilhite Memorial Lecture: Understanding energy demand

How is energy demand made, how does it change and how can it be steered? Join us in the first Hal Wilhite Memorial Lecture with Elizabeth Shove.

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Where does energy demand come from? This is a crucial question, yet one that is too seldom asked. Twenty years ago, Hal Wilhite and colleagues wrote about how we know more about individual behaviour but next to nothing about demand. In the intervening years, energy demand has become a topic of serious investigation and enquiry.

Building on some of that work, this lecture explores a handful of core propositions: that demand is derived from social practices; that demand is made and not simply met; that it is materially embedded and temporally unfolding, and that it is modified and modulated via many forms of policy and governance.

In working through these ideas, and illustrating them with examples relating to food, refrigeration, online shopping and the indoor climate, Elizabeth Shove's aim is to demonstrate and also celebrate the power and the potential of conceptualising demand not as an expression of individual choice, but as an outcome of shifting, historically situated complexes of social practice.


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The key note lecturer is Elizabeth Shove, Professor at Lancaster University.


Please register to receive the webinar link which will be shared prior to the event.

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Image may contain: male, human.Hal Wilhite Memorial Lecture

The Hal Wilhite Memorial Lecture will be organised annually in memory of our dear colleague Professor Harold L. Wilhite.

Hal is best known as an anthropologist, but always with a strong interdisciplinary orientation. At the Centre for Development the Environment (SUM), University of Oslo, he led groundbreaking research on sustainable consumption and energy.

Hal’s research has had a great impact internationally. His numerous publications based on fieldwork in Asia, Latin America and Norway, are widely read. Hal insisted on the importance of understanding human action in its social and economic context. He was particularly critical towards the idea of a green transition which did not involve reducing consumption, and considered a low carbon society impossible to realise in a growth-oriented economy. He was deeply passionate about environmental issues, and lived according to his own high standards regarding sustainable consumption.

Research on consumption

Read more about our research group Sustainable consumption and energy equity.

Published Nov. 3, 2020 12:45 PM - Last modified Feb. 1, 2021 3:03 PM