Files

Action Filename Description Size Access License Resource Version
Show more files...

Abstract

Problem. To reach international greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets, the carbon intensity of urban resource and energy consumption must be reduced. Technological innovation alone is not sufficient: The practices that constitute urban household demand for mobility and energy must change. This is no trivial task: Such practices are embedded in complex dynamics and entangled with notions of good and desirable lives and, as such, with normative considerations. Therefore, on the one hand, research is needed on how change in urban consumption practices is entangled with dynamics that concern different domains and play out at different scales. On the other hand, research is needed on how knowledge production that is concerned with such change is shaped by normative considerations. Aim. This thesis aims to address the challenges that must be tackled when studying change in carbon-intensive urban consumption practices. It aims to disentangle the dynamics that give rise to and characterise such change, and to shed light on how normative considerations enter and shape knowledge production that is concerned with such change. Approach. This thesis is based on an exploratory approach. It takes as starting points approaches and theories that have been found promising to address the problems at hand, and refines them through empirical and literature-based investigations. Insights. Firstly, this thesis identified open questions regarding promising approaches to study change in carbon-intensive urban consumption practices. It shed light on the state of the art of practice theoretic research on consumption; and it summarised the insights gained and the questions left open by studies that enquired into the drivers and dynamics of urban energy consumption. Secondly, at the example of urban commuting, it addressed open questions regarding practice theoretic approaches to consumption. It provided explanations for the complex patterns that can be observed in modal shifts and gave first answers to the question of how meaning becomes ascribed to commuting. The thesis refined practice theoretic approaches so that they better account for the differentiated embeddedness of practitioners in structural dynamics and for the interplay between habitual and intentional modes of acting. Thirdly, at the example of urban energy consumption, this thesis tested assumptions that underpin studies that analyse consumption patterns as emerging properties of cities. It revealed the importance of local level and context specific dynamics. Fourthly, the thesis identified processes through which normative considerations enter knowledge production concerned with change in carbon-intensive urban consumption practices, and sketched ideal-typical positions that reveal the different kinds of disagreements that can persist in such knowledge production processes. Lastly, this thesis revealed the dynamics of hegemonisation that characterise such knowledge production, and the challenges they present for knowledge production that aims to critically analyse processes of discursive closure and to open up new perspectives for change in carbon-intensive urban consumption practices. Overall, the thesis contributed to a more fine-grained understanding of the challenges that must be tackled when studying change in carbon-intensive urban consumption practices, and enhanced approaches for addressing them.

Details

Actions

Preview