Energy consumption is deeply embedded in social practices of everyday life. Knowledge is a constitutive element of these practices and its purposeful production can be a way of governing their necessary transformation towards energy sufficiency. Knowledge production can be understood as a struggle for meanings, in which diverse actors engage with their epistemic work (Alasuutari & Qadir, 2014). Moreover, it is not limited to traditional institutions of science and its various disciplines but also activists and social movements, such as the degrowth movement, need to be understood as creative sites (Eyerman & Jamison, 1991). The epistemic work of degrowth activists includes approaches that go far beyond the discursive generation of new knowledge (Hosseini, 2010). Above all they put the very ideas related to degrowth into practice. This performative realization is a specific form of epistemic work (Voß, 2014). Real world performance is not only important to translate or validate ideas. On the contrary, the ideas themselves are challenged, further developed and potentially reframed in the course of performance. Exactly this arena where knowledge on energy sufficiency is dynamically co-produced by activists and their real world performance on the one hand and scientific proponents with their discursive practices on the other hand is at the core of this paper.
Drawing on the empirical case of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Germany the paper will explore in detail how the ideas of degrowth are put into practice, how they are translated into context specific knowledge that constitute new social practices and how the ideas themselves evolve in this process.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „The Co-Production of Energy Sufficiency“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.