GET-together with Ian Greer and Charles Umney on 16.05.2023

The Sustainability Transformation programme area is proud to host the Stavanger book launch of Marketization by Ian Greer (Cornell University) and Charles Umney (University of Leeds).

During 13:00-14:30 in Elise Ottesen Jensens Hus 376 (EOJ-376), the authors will join us in person to present and discuss their new Bloomsbury book about marketisation, neoliberalism, democracy and justice.

Read the publisher’s blurb about their new book:

How do markets function? Who creates, shapes and organizes them? And what do they mean for the relationship between labor and capital?

Marketization examines how the state and capital use markets to discipline the working class. Ian Greer and Charles Umney provide a comprehensive overview of the European political economy, from the European Commission to the workplace, to show how neoliberal principles translate into market mechanisms and reshape the lives of workers.

Drawing on dozens of conversations with policymakers, administrators, businesses, workers, and trade unionists across many European countries, Greer and Umney unpack marketization. They go beyond liberal theories that see markets as natural forms of economic organization and broad-brush left critiques of neoliberalism, looking behind the scenes in the current European political economy to examine the practicalities of how markets are created and manipulated by employers, policymakers and bureaucrats in pursuit of greater profitability. Far from leading to greater freedom, these processes often override the rights of individuals, degrade the status and security of workers, and undermine democratic accountability.

GET-together with David Singh on 15.05.2023

Researching energy politics on an Indian borderland with Pakistan: a doctoral journey 

The Sustainability Transformation programme area is pleased to host a Governing Energy Transitions (GET-)together seminar by David Singh, who is completing a joint PhD at the University of East Anglia and the University of Copenhagen. The seminar is held at Elise Ottesen Jensens Hus 377 (EOJ-377) during 10:15-11:30 on Monday, 15 May 2023.

As an appetiser for the seminar, David Singh writes:

I started my doctoral journey in 2019 with the broad idea of researching land dispossession and resistance to renewable energy rollout in rural India. Four years later, I am about to submit a thesis that investigates the socio-political and territorial reconfigurations of post-earthquake and liberalised border landscapes following the arrival of wind turbine infrastructures 20 years ago. In this presentation, I discuss the challenges and importance of researching energy politics in the margins of the (Indian) state at a time of climate crisis, energy transition and increased authoritarian neoliberalism. I present findings from a 7-month fieldwork in Western India.

GET-together with Marie-Hélène Zerah on 19.04.2023

Urban Electrical Hybridisations in the Global South 

The Sustainability Transformation programme area is pleased to host Marie-Hélène Zerah at the University of Stavanger during 11.04.2023-21.04.2023. As part of this stay, Dr. Zerah will offer a Governing Energy Transitions (GET)-together seminar during 14:00-15:00 on Wednesday, 19 April, in EOJ-377 at Elise Ottesen-Jensens Hus on the campus at Ullandhaug. She will offer insights into her work on a range of urban electrical hybridisations in the Global South.

Marie-Hélène Zérah is a senior researcher at the Institute of Research for Development, Paris, currently deputed to the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi as Senior Visiting Fellow, where she is focusing on the role of small towns in India, urban energy transformation and the governance of smart cities. Having published a book on the question of water access in Delhi and co-edited a book on the ‘Right to the City in India’, she has worked extensively in the area of urban infrastructure, urban governance and urban democracy in Indian cities. Her research on‘Subaltern Urbanisation’ was published by Springer in 2017 (with E. Denis). In 2020, she has published ‘Quand l’Inde s’urbanise (How India Urbanizes)’ at the Editions de l’Aube, a book that traces changes in urban service provision in Indian cities since the 1990s. She is also part of the editorial board of the journal Geoforum, and the series editor of ‘Exploring Urban Change in South Asia’ with Springer. She has previously headed the urban dynamics research team at the Centre de Sciences Humaines of New Delhi between 2009 and 2013. She has also worked with the Water and Sanitation Program of the World Bank and the Suez Group in the past, and completed consultancies with various organisations, including the European Union. She is on the scientific committee of CURE in Delhi and of the Water for All chair in Paris. She received her PhD in Urban Studies from the Paris Institute of Urban Studies.

Her presentation posits that there is a co-evolution of the energy and urban transitions in the Global South that produces a territorial diversity of hybrid electrical configurations. Urban electrical hybridisations (UEH) are shaped by shifts in energy systems such as the expansion and modernisation of the conventional grid and assemblages of heterogeneous solutions outside the grid (solar panels, batteries, diesel generators, etc.) and by the varied spaces that constitute the urban. Building on a range of examples in large and dense cities, urban peripheries and isolated towns in Africa, Asia and the Middle East (as part of a collective project,, the presentation will propose a typology of UEH. It will then open the debate with several questions: are certain urban morphologies more conducive to a process of electrical hybridisation? Can the diversity of UEH help us rethink the notion of transition and our analytical approaches? Does the concept of urban electrical hybridisations lead us to rethink scales of solidarity?

GET-together with Nik Janos on 24.04.2023

Dammed: The Future of Northwest US Hydropower in the Era of Climate Change

The Sustainability Transformation programme area is pleased to host Nik Janos at the University of Stavanger during 11.04.2023-26.04.2023. As part of this stay, Nik Janos will offer a Governing Energy Transitions (GET)-together seminar during 12:15-13:30 on Monday, 24 April, at the UiS library. He will describe and discuss his work on conflicts over low-carbon hydroelectric power in the Northwest United States.

Nik Janos is a professor of sociology at California State University Chico. He earned his Ph.D. from University of California Santa Cruz and his work focuses on urbanisation and environmental governance in the Northwest United States.

At a time when more and more people recognise the need to decarbonise electricity production, tensions are emerging around low-carbon electricity sources, the very sources that promise to lead to the end of fossil fuels. Nik’s work is motivated by one central question: how do people understand and work through the tension between environmental restoration and Indigenous sovereignty, and the role that hydroelectric dams perform in the rapid decarbonisation needed to avert catastrophic climate change? 

Proponents of hydropower argue that these dams play a new and important role in low-carbon energy production. In fact, hydroelectric power accounts for a significant portion, and at times a majority, of electricity in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. This means that for millions of people and thousands of businesses, their primary electricity comes from inexpensive, low-carbon energy. What’s more, hydroelectric dams are a form of public power since most are owned by municipal and federal agencies, rather than private corporations. 

Opponents are criticising the negative ecological and social impacts of these dams, specifically the impacts on endangered and threatened species, including salmon, bull trout, steelhead, and orcas, and the impact on tribal sovereignty in the region. There are now dam removal campaigns in every state of the Northwest. 

The dynamics of these conflicts are poised to shape the course of the energy transition in the region and how people manage competing social and environmental values. At the end of the presentation, tentative comparisons will be made between the US Northwest hydropower system and the Norwegian one, including similar controversies in Norway over energy transition and social justice.

Think solar, act local!

Bérénice Girard and Siddharth Sareen, in collaboration with comic artist Leo Ribeiro, with technical editing and riso printing by Benjamin Hickethier, and thematic inputs from Mehdi Torkaman, have scripted and co-produced a solarpunk zine entitled ‘Think solar, act local’!

This zine, riso printed at &soWalter (usw.) at the local art collective Consulatet in Stavanger in 100+ beautiful copies, stems from a workshop led by Bérénice in November 2022. The workshop took place thanks to a Green Transitions grant from the Greenhouse Centre for Environmental Humanities at the University of Stavanger, and drawing from collaboration on the Accountable Solar Energy TransitionS (ASSET) and Sun4All projects funded by the Research Council of Norway and the European Commission (Horizon 2020) respectively.

A special issue for the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition, on the workshop theme of governing renewable energy rollouts in financially constrained contexts, is in progress during 2023, co-edited by Bérénice Girard, Shayan Shokrgozar, and Siddharth Sareen.

The solarpunk zine is available open access online. Download your copy below!