Energy Justice and Foundations for a Sustainable Sociology of Energy
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This dissertation proposes an approach to energy that transcends the focus on energy as a mere technical economic or engineering problem, is connected to sociological theory as a whole, and takes issues of equality and ecology as theoretical starting points. In doing so, the work presented here puts ecological and environmental sociological theory, and the work of environmental justice scholars, feminist ecologists, and energy scholars, in a context in which they may complement one another to broaden the theoretical basis of the current sociology of energy. This theoretical integration provides an approach to energy focused on energy justice. Understanding energy and society in the terms outlined here makes visible energy injustice, or the interface between social inequalities and ecological depredations accumulating as the social and ecological debts of the modern energy regime. Systems ecology is brought into this framework as a means for understanding unequal exchange, energy injustice more generally, and the requirements for long-term social and ecological reproduction in ecological terms. Energy developments in Ecuador and Cuba are used here as case studies in order to further develop the idea of energy justice and the theory of unequal ecological exchange. The point is to broaden the framework of the contemporary critical sociology of energy, putting energy justice at its heart. This dissertation contains previously published and unpublished co-authored material.