From individuals to collectives in energy systems — a social practice, identity and rhythm inspired lens

Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Anna Chatzimichali, Ed Atkins, Lidia Badarnah, Faezeh Bagheri-Moghaddam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need for socially smart energy systems that incorporate both individual and collective social, spatial, and technical dimensions is increasing. However, the social, spatial, and technical interplay between individual and collective scales has been poorly studied and lacks a conceptual basis. Most research to date has focused on social, technical, socio-technical, or spatial approaches at the individual level, or at the collective level independently of the individual. Therefore, overlooking the complex underlying dynamics between the individual and the collective and the multidimensional and multimodal nature of energy use and demand across scales. In response, we propose a novel integration of social practice, social identity theory, and rhythm analysis, with a focus on the collective capabilities of energy users, observable across neighbourhood social contexts and spatial scales. Our conceptual framework offers analytical benefits to energy research and policy by viewing energy users within their individual and collective socio-technical contexts across rhythms of everyday routines. This approach can inform future research in energy systems, as well as policy and practice in the design of new governance mechanisms and engineering requirements for socially smart grids, devices, and collective energy systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103279
Number of pages5
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2023


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