Energy Transitions and Materiality: Between Dispositives, Assemblages and Metabolisms

  • Timothy Moss
  • Sören Becker
  • Ludger Gailing


Building on recent interest in the ‘material turn’ in the social sciences, this chapter explores diverse ways of conceptualizing the socio-materiality of energy transitions. It selects three fields of scholarship on the co-production of material and social phenomena: dispositives, assemblages and metabolisms. It analyses each one according to common analytical criteria to assess and compare how they address socio-materiality, drawing out significant differences and areas of complementarity. The value of the three approaches in analysing energy transitions is illustrated with two empirical cases from the German Energiewende: on local energy autarky around a waste-to-energy initiative and on energy-efficient refurbishment of residential buildings. The chapter concludes with recommendations on how this knowledge can enrich future studies of energy transitions.


Socio-materiality dispositive assemblage metabolism urban political ecology 


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Moss
    • 1
  • Sören Becker
    • 2
  • Ludger Gailing
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS)ErknerGermany
  2. 2.ErknerGermany

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