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“In the morning I just need a long, hot shower:” a sociological exploration of energy sensibilities in Norwegian bathrooms

Author(s): Thomas Berker

Journal: Sustainability : Science, Practice and Policy
ISSN 1548-7733

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 57;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: energy consumption | attitude measures | social organization | resource utilization | households

This article proposes a new area of research centered on the study of how energy sensibilities—in terms of esthesia which is understood as responsiveness and awareness—are distributed and redistributed. Energy is approached as a polyphonic concept with many meanings, of which none enjoys privileged status. Given this polyphony, the common observation that end-users have no idea (or wrong ideas) about their energy consumption loses importance. Instead, unevenly distributed ways of sensing and making sense of energy become the object of study. Drawing on the work of French philosopher Jacques Rancière, the article discusses contemporary distributions of energy sensibilities in domestic settings and how they have been redistributed during the previous two decades. Analysis of visual representations of bathrooms in the largest Norwegian interior lifestyle magazine and 600 real estate advertisements shows how a specific, resource-intensive energy sensibility has become dominant through a politics of refurbishing.
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