© 2013

Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday Life

Smart Utopia?


Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Introducing the Smart Utopia

    1. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 1-13
  3. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 17-33
    3. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 34-52
    4. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 53-69
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 71-71
    2. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 73-93
    3. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 94-115
    4. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 116-134
    5. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 135-154
    6. Yolande Strengers
      Pages 155-167
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 168-204

About this book


This book interrogates the global utopian vision for smart energy technologies and the new energy consumer intended to realise it. It enriches and extends the possibilities of four residential smart strategies: energy feedback, dynamic pricing, home automation and micro-generation, focusing on how they are being integrated into everyday practice.


automation energy Generation research Technologie utopia

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

About the authors

Yolande Strengers is a Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow and co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change research program at the Urban Research Centre, RMIT University, Australia. Her research seeks to understand how emerging technologies such as smart grids, smart meters and household technologies are reshaping everyday practices.

Bibliographic information


"With considerable theoretical sophistication, Yolande Strengers incisively interrogates the promises attached to the Smart Utopian vision of a world in which our energy problems will be solved by smart technologies and the smart use of data. Drawing on a wealth of empirical examples, Strengers critically traces how Smart Utopia, grounded as it is in the idealized figure of Resource Man, articulates with the complex and contingent practices that make up everyday life. For anyone interested in the unfolding future of energy use Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday Life is essential reading." - Mike Michael, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Sydney, Australia

"This intriguing and critical book shows how contrasting paradigms and discourses of domestic energy use are performed and reproduced through interventions like those of smart metering, peak pricing and localised generation. In this important work, Strengers calls for a searching re-imagination of energy systems and the ways of life they sustain." - Elizabeth Shove, Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University, UK

"Smart Energy Technologies in Everyday Life is a wonderfully eloquent and incisive investigation of the rise of smart devices and rhetoric. Far from being instruments of transformative social change Strengers shows how 'smart' stuff interacts with consumers; how, when you factor in the complexities of social practice, it might not be so smart after all. A provocative and productive book bringing much needed critical analysis to the smart agenda." - Gay Hawkins, Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory, University of Queensland, Australia

"This book addresses a strange but all-important question: How does energy participate in everyday life? Drawing on detailed knowledge of the energy industry and domestic practices, Strengers shows how crucial this question is, and how prevalent technologies and understandings of energy consumption prevent us from asking it. An effective antidote against the mistaken belief that energy is an abstract issue."- Noortje Marres, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths University of London, UK