Emerging e-Practices, Information Flows and the Home: A Sociological Research Agenda on Smart Energy Systems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the emergence and development of smart grids from a sociological perspective. In particular we draw on ‘social practice theory’ to
understand the dynamics of domestic energy consumption and production in
emerging smart energy configurations. There are two focal points in the analysis.
First, we will concentrate on a specific type of social practices, so called ‘e-practices’. This is a term that we coin to refer to all those practices in and around the home that involve the consumption, conservation, monitoring, generation and storage of energy. Second, we incorporate ‘information flows’ as a key element in our understanding of the emergence of new e-practices. Although the term “smart” has been defined in various ways, a common denominator is that the generation, handling and use of data, information and knowledge is part of what makes a system smart. After introducing both concepts, we outline a conceptual framework around e-practices and information flows that can guide social scientific research on smart energy systems. We also illustrate how this framework can be put to use empirically, based on data that have been gathered in the Netherlands. The chapter is concluded with a research agenda that outlines theoretical and methodological challenges for future smart grid research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmart Grids from a Global Perspective
Subtitle of host publicationBridging Old and New Energy Systems
EditorsAnne Beaulieu, Jaap de Wilde, Jacquelien M.A. Scherpen
ISBN (Electronic)9783319280776
ISBN (Print)9783319280752
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePower Systems
ISSN (Print)1612-1287
ISSN (Electronic)1860-4676

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