Fifth Energy and Society Conference

January 31, 2020

The Fifth Energy and Society Conference and midterm conference of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network 12 Environment and Society will take place in Trento, Italy, from 8th to 10th September 2020.  We aim to bring together researchers interested in the social dimensions of energy, to exchange insightful ideas and create opportunities for collaboration. We invite contributions from across the social sciences and interdisciplinary research teams working on energy and society issues. 

The theme of the conference calls into question how discourses about energy transition have been put into practice. As the “world’s hunger for energy” still appears to be increasing, the transition to clean sources of energy will need to be “revolutionary”, requiring the transformation of forms of social organization (Davidson and Gross, 2018). And yet, what is actually changing?

This theme is intended to spark debate and discussion, and with this reflexive approach and sociological lenses, we encourage the submission of abstracts on a wide variety of topics including but not limited to the following:

  • Theories, concepts and methods in social science research on energy and environmental sociology
  • Local capacities, responsibilities and strategies in energy governance 
  • Public engagement
  • Energy governance and policies
  • Transition strategies: From grid interconnection to sharing and sufficiency
  • Justice and vulnerability
  • Dynamics and patterns of energy consumption and presumption
  • Smart meters, smart appliances, smart grids, smart places
  • Green economy, circular economy
  • Narratives, discourses, and visions of the future
  • Energy-water-food nexus 

In thematic sessions each presenter will have around 20 minutes for presentation and discussion with peers. 

Additionally you can send in abstracts to the following workshops/special sessions that have been proposed by different authors following a pre- call for workshop proposals. Interactive workshops are encouraged, thus discussion should be based on short inputs, and actively involve participants. The full list of accepted workshops and descriptions of content and format are available on the conference website. 
Abstracts can be submitted to the following workshops/special sessions:

  • Dominated, ignored and belittled? Gender, justice and women in the energy transition (Mary Greene, Anne Schiffer)
  • Tailored participation of different target groups in inter and transdisciplinary research projects: what for, when and how to design participation processes? (Rainer Kuhn, Ricarda Schmidt-Scheele, Sarah-Kristina Wist)
  • COMET Workshop - Collective Action as driver of Social Innovation for the Energy Transition (Osman Arrobbio, Winston Gilcrease, Dario Padovan, Alessandro Sciullo, Valeria Jana Schwanitz)
  • The Changing Landscape: Energy Power, Dependence, and the Grand Energy Transition in post-Soviet Eurasia (Morena Skalamera)
  • Implementing energy communities in European countries (Nathalie Ortar Grégoire Wallenborn)
  • When technological fix is not enough: industry, professionals and citizens in the energy transition. (Dario Minervini, Ivano Scotti)
  • Who is transforming what in electricity transitions: seeking identity and control in turbulent environments (Gerhard Fuchs)
  • The heating transition, still on the back burner? (Tineke van der Schoor, Henny van der Windt)
  • Constructing, exploring and conceptualising ‘energy democracy’ from below (Elisabet Rasch, Michiel Köhne)
  • The Role of Constructing Social Change in Achieving Sustainable Energy Justice Transition in Europe and the Mediterranean (Carmit Lubanov)
  • Renewable energy landscapes. Technical knowledge and social innovation (Bruno Zanon)
  • Special UERA Smart Cities and Energy Session (UERA Working Group on Smart Cities and Energy)

For detailed information on the Workshops, see the download section "Fifth E-S Workshops details", or click HERE.

Please check with the organisers of workshops regarding the length of presentation and indicate the workshop/special session on your abstract. 
We also encourage the submission of abstracts for poster presentations. Poster presenters will be given time in a plenary session for a 3 minutes short presentation and posters will be displayed throughout the conference.

Besides plenary sessions with keynote speakers, thematic sessions, the workshops/special sessions listed above and posters, the conference will also include the following interactive workshops:

  • Energy justice (EJ) as a multidimensional concept – the „old” and new perspectives for sociological research (Katarzyna Iwińska, Krzysztof Niedziałkowski, Marianna Strzelecka)
  • How to navigate new waters... Plan and develop your career in the field of Energy-SSH (Tadeusz Rudek, Aleksandra Wagner, Chris Foulds, Sarah Royston, Rosie Robison)
  • Increasing the understanding on the Food-Water-Energy Nexus across disciplines – does participatory modelling help? (Monika Heyder, Pia Laborgne)
  • Deep decarbonization and wide societal changes – identifying and sharing matters of concern through embodied interaction (Marius Korsnes, Giulia Sonetti)
  • Sustainable Energy Transition Lab: Integrating geographical, social and political aspects in future energy models (Diana Süsser, Johan Lilliestam, Hannes Gaschnig)


  • Authors cannot present more than one paper (however, one can be co-author of other papers). Abstracts must be submitted in English.
  • All abstracts submitted should include 150-200 words, plus authors, affiliations, and email addresses.

Please submit your abstracts by completing the Call for Paper Form


  • January 31, 2020: Abstracts submission deadline
  • February 29, 2020: End of the selection process
  • March 1, 2020:  Authors will be informed whether or not their abstract is accepted
  • From March 1 till August 3, 2020: Conference registration and payment fee process

Fee scheme for the Conference registration, starting March 1, 2020

Social events include a welcome reception, an optional conference dinner, and excursions to power plants in the region. 
Members of the Research Network 12 Environment and Society of the European Sociological Association (who have paid both ESA and RN12 membership due for the current year) will have reduced conference fees. 

  • Member of ESA RN12 - from March 1 to August 3, 2020 - € 80,00
  • Student and PhD - from March 1 to August 3, 2020 - € 60,00
  • Standard early-bird fee - from March 1 to June 30, 2020 -  € 100,00
  • Standard late fee - from July 1 to August 3, 2020 -    €130,00

Scientific committee

Natalia Magnani, Giorgio Osti, Pia Laborgne, Ana Horta, Aleksandra Wagner, Alena Bleicher, Sophie Némoz, Matthias Gross, Çiğdem Adem, Françoise Bartiaux, Catherine Butler, Luísa Schmidt, Michael Ornetzeder, Maria Świątkiewicz-Mośny


For further information please contact: energy-society-srs [at]