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Prosumption

by on December 12, 2013

I’ve been working with a colleague on the idea of prosumption, and we’ve just received news that a funding application (Carnegie Trust Small Grant) we put in on the topic has been successful – woohoo. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2012/oct/29/community-energy

Prosumption is a term used to describe the act of simultaneously producing and consuming goods or services. Developed in the 1980’s by Alvin Toffler, the concept has been discussed in the context of user-generated content in online IT communities (Web 2.0), and there are a range of related terms: produsing; ‘active’ consumption; and, customised consumption. Yet the idea of prosumption has largely been ignored by social science, and thus has not been well conceptualised. So, what we want to do is develop a new conceptualisation of prosumption by examining renewable energy in Scotland. We also hope to explore ideas of justice in addition to developing this new conceptualisation.

It is topical because there is an increasing desire for a decentralised renewable energy generation network, to meet the twin challenges of peak oil and climate change, which has resulted in an increasing amount of energy prosumption, or individual households and communities, producing and consuming their own energy. Helped by various policy initiatives, it seems that community energy is gaining considerable momentum (see, for example Community Energy Scotland, and a recent announcement of a new £1million project in Wales).

What we hope to do, is speak with people in different types of prosumption communities (i.e. those who are entirely self-sufficient, to those more on the consumption end of the spectrum). We have an idea of communities we’d like to work with and are now initiating conversations with them…watch this space for more info. But it is an exciting time for me, working with Darren, someone with whom I’ve wanted to work for AGES. I’m really looking forward to getting out and about in Scotland and speaking to people about their experiences.

Examples of projects across Scotland

Examples of projects across Scotland

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