Benjamin Sovacool on Disciplinary Perspectives in Energy Studies

Posted by on Aug 3, 2014
Benjamin Sovacool on Disciplinary Perspectives in Energy Studies

In an article in the science journal Nature, “Diversity: Energy studies need social science,” Benjamin Sovacool examines the bias towards hard sciences in energy studies, and makes a compelling case for the broadening of the field to include the social sciences and humanities.  His quantitative analysis finds “four worrisome trends: an undervaluation of the influence of social dimensions on energy use; a bias towards science, engineering and economics over other social sciences and the humanities; a lack of interdisciplinary collaboration; and the under-representation of female authors or those from minority groups.”

Sovacool, the editor-in-chief of Energy Research & Social Science and a contributing author of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment, argues that “To secure a safe, reliable and low-carbon energy future, we must alter both technologies and human behaviour. The US Department of Energy notes that supply and demand is ‘affected as much by individual choice, preference, and behavior, as by technical performance’… Universities should develop courses focused on solving energy problems, granting agencies should prioritize and direct more money to behavioural work, and energy journals should broaden their scope.”

The article can be accessed here.