More than 10 million SEK to a new research project studying “carbonscapes”

2020-12-10

Magdalena Kuchler´s project “Disassembling the power of high-carbon imaginaries” has been granted 10,4 MSEK from Vetenskaprådet. 


A so called carbonscape where brown coal is extracted from an open mine.
Picture from Wikipedia.

Associate Professor Magdalena Kuchler´s project “Disassembling the power of high-carbon imaginaries” has been granted 10,4 MSEK from Vetenskaprådet (VR) for Research environment grant within humanities and social sciences.

The overall purpose of the project is to critically examine and better understand how powerful carbon-intensive imaginaries can be disempowered – either realigned or dismantled - to accelerate low-carbon transition.

The project also involves Professor Gavin Bridge from Durham University, Department of Geography and Mikael Höök, Associate Professor in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. The project is a collaboration between Uppsala University and Durham University.

Senior lecturer/Associate Professor at Department of Earth Sciences, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development.

Magdalena, what is the main objective of this study?
- The persistence of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, cannot be prevented solely by assembling new energy systems and institutions that support them. Equal attention must be placed on disassembling old but powerful and seemingly-durable fossil fuel incumbencies. The overall purpose of this project is to critically examine and better understand how powerful carbon-intensive imaginaries can be disempowered to accelerate low-carbon transition.

What are “carbonscapes”?
- Carbonscapes are high-carbon energy landscapes associated with the extraction and production of fossil fuels.

Where will you conduct your research?
- We aim to conduct our research in two “carbonscapes” associated with Poland’s deep-mined hard coal (Upper Silesia Region) and with open-pit brown coal (Wielkopolska and Łódź Regions), as well as two “carbonscapes” associated with the UK’s offshore oil in the North Sea and with the onshore petrochemical industry via the case of Teeside in the North East of England.

For more information contact Magdalena Kuchler: magdalena.kuchler@geo.uu.se

Project abstract in English:

The overall purpose of this project is to critically examine and better understand how powerful carbon-intensive imaginaries can be disempowered – either realigned or dismantled - to accelerate low-carbon transition. By analysing and comparing four distinctive carbonscapes – two coalscapes in Poland and two petroscapes in the UK – the project aims to: 1) identify and critically examine impulses of resistance to change, exemplified in the way powerful fossil fuel incumbencies (re)imagine or discursively rework coal and oil as means of stabilising and sustaining their legacy; 2) determine how the material-discursive dynamics and power relations associated with high carbon landscapes constrain and/or enable the power to (re)imagine energy futures; 3) identify openings and opportunities for dismantling and destabilizing incumbent fossil fuel imaginaries in selected carbonscapes. The study contributes to research on energy futures and energy transitions by implementing a novel combination of analytical frameworks that transcends dominant theoretical approaches, namely: socio-technical imaginaries, assemblages, and materialities. The project will be conducted in a collaborative research environment involving Uppsala University and Durham University.

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Last modified: 2021-06-14