3rd Swiss Social Science and Humanities Energy Workshop (SSH Energy)

2 June 2023, HESSO building, Sion (VS), Switzerland




Inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives drawing on different social science and humanities (SSH) disciplines on energy transitions, systems, and infrastructure are crucial for an impactful energy research.

After a first workshop that allowed for getting to know scholarly work across SSH disciplines in Swiss energy research and a second one in which a vivid academic discussion about new research paths that are of inter- and transdisciplinary nature in the SSH energy research field in Switzerland has led to a published paper, this third workshop intends to explore the five priorities outlined there, for their transformational potential and for their relative novelty, as well as to roll on an open-ended discussion on the current challenges.

The workshop will take place on Friday June 2, 2023, in Sion/Sitten (VS). In the morning, we discuss, in parallel sessions, current, past and possible future research items under the five priorities, with an additional section for other relevant items. After a networking lunch, an interactive workshop, on the style utilised in Murten/Muntelier, will explore convergence and divergence on the energy transition.

We encourage all scholars within social sciences, humanities, and trans- and interdisciplinary research focusing on energy to apply and participate. We are open to pre- and post-docs and more senior scholars (professors) from Switzerland, either as their academic institution or the scope of their studies. PhD students are welcome. We encourage participation regardless of participation in the Workshops in Martigny and Murten/ Muntelier.

Ways of participation

The late-morning sessions held at the HES-SO building will be in hybrid format, allowing for presentations and participation online. The afternoon session will be in-person only.

Call for applications

We encourage submissions of extended abstracts, full papers, and/or slides in and around the following priorities:

Language as it lies at the core of communication (in transdisciplinary research and between researchers, stakeholders and the general public/society). At the same time, the choice of specific word and framings can influence what recipients understand and how they process information.

The distributional impacts of the energy transition as they are central to the study of justice and public acceptance. Especially for the political implementation of the energy transition and related policy measures, more insights into distributional effects and how to make the energy transition socially fair are crucial.

Complex realities, such as co-diffusion and co-adoption of energy-related technologies and lifestyles, as the energy transition is ultimately a social endeavor, marked by high complexity. This involves different social and political aspects such as public and elite acceptance, changing norms and expectations around what it means to live the good life, new socio-technical systems, and new regulatory and institutional settings.

Methods used jointly such as field experiments, public acceptance studies, SSH-informed agent-based modeling, living labs, and real decision-making settings can provide SSH-driven insights that are closer to reality, and thus more effective in acting on social change.

Threats and opportunities during accelerated energy crises and potential shortages require an SSH perspective. The current energy crisis has triggered discussions about topics that had been taken for granted, e.g., resilience and price predictability.

A more complete presentation of the priorities and their context is in the Open access paper “Towards more impactful energy research: The salient role of social sciences and humanities” (link).

Other topics of interest for the SSH energy community can be presented as well.

The content of the presentations can relate to current and past research projects but also can address new ideas, pre-registration/pre-analysis plans, dissertation projects/chapters, real cases/case studies, and sources of data/qualitative evidence.

An Eventbrite page will be available soon to formalize your intention to participate.

Organization Committee:

Dr. Valentino Piana (HES-SO) and Dr. Gracia Brückmann (UniBE)

The conference is supported by: