Theme Call. Valuing Energy

Theme Call for Abstracts 

Title: Valuing Energy: unpacking value in energy resources, technologies and processes

Editors: Tomas Ariztia (Universidad Diego Portales), Béatrice Cointe (Mines Paris-PSL and CNRS), Trine Pallesen (Copenhagen Business School) and Antti Silvast (LUT University).

The climate effects of burning fossil fuels and more recently the war in Ukraine have made the re-valuation of energy an urgent societal problem. Notions such as energy poverty, energy justice and energy democracy have become widespread concerns and attracted much attention within the social sciences and humanities (Jenkins et al., 2021; Bouzarovski, 2014; Szulecki & Overland, 2020). These issues are certainly important, yet their underlying valuation processes and the controversies surrounding them remain understudied.

Recent studies have begun to problematize how value is defined, measured and mobilised in different energy resources, technologies and processes: ranging from energy networks and infrastructures, such as electric grids, renewable technologies and energy living labs (Kirkegaard et al 2021; Pallesen & Jacobsen 2021; Silvast 2017a,b). These studies have shown that different energy objects and processes heavily rely on the creation and mobilisation of new, often contested, valuation devices and pricing techniques (e.g. Doganova & Karnøe 2015; Pallesen 2016; Cointe & Nadaï 2018; Breslau 2013; Ehrenstein & Muniesa 2013). Valuation practices and devices are equally central in the politics of ongoing energy transitions at both local and planetary scales, as they often arbitrate and define the possibility and existence (or not) of different transition paths. Along these lines, scholars have explored, for instance, the role of finance (Nadaï & Cointe 2020) and social and economic valuation (Kirkegaard et al 2023) in the development and scaling of renewables.

Besides this, contributions from neighbouring fields such as geography have studied the processes by which things are turned into energy resources (Kuchler and Bridge 2018; Bridge et al. 2020), while history of economic thought has started to investigate the genealogies of energy valuations and the emergence of an economics of energy (e.g. Missemer 2017; Russ 2020; Turnbull 2023). We see promising grounds for cross-fertilization between valuation studies and related fields for the study of energy - and energy things - as a valuation problem.

This call invites papers that problematize, analyse, and examine the valuation of energy and energy things in society. We invite contributions that explore empirically the valuation of energy or propose new approaches to valuation studies of energy. Potential research themes include, but are not limited to:

  • How do valuation processes contribute to the constitution of energy resources - or to turning things into non-resources?
  • How do energy infrastructures contribute to the valuation of energy resources, how do they become objects of valuation themselves, and how are they shaped by valuation practices ?
  • How are (new) forms of expertise and the valuation of energy entangled?
  • How are energy users developing new valuations - and how do they become valuable in new ways themselves - in contemporary energy systems?
  • How do the (re)valuation of energy and newly emerged energy publics interrelate?

Expressions of interest shall be submitted in the form of an extended abstract (about 1.000 words) by email to the editors by March 31, 2024. Selected authors will then be invited to submit full papers for peer review by October 1, 2024.

Please address queries and expressions of interest to Tomas Ariztia <>, Béatrice Cointe <>, Trine Pallesen <> and Antti Silvast <>.

 Valuation Studies sets out to offer an academic platform for research and debate on the problem of valuation. Valuation indeed stands as a crucial problem for the social sciences and the humanities today, in more than one way. Understanding the tensions, determinants, contexts and effects of valuation practices appears indeed as a decisive requirement for the understanding of how our world is constructed, transformed or fractured. An interdisciplinary approach is required in order to investigate the technical cultures, the political imaginaries, the historical processes, the methodological problems and the institutional settings that shape the ways in which things are valued, and to identify relevant shifts, controversies and struggles. Sociological, anthropological, cultural, political, semiotic, historiographic, legal, institutional, critical, organisational approaches to the study of valuation phenomena are needed in order to establish tractable, actionable interdisciplinary knowledge on valuation as a problem. Submissions to Valuation Studies respond to broad calls for contributions curated by the journal’s editorial board. This is to ensure focus and debate, while offering the space to address each call’s purpose from many possible angles and in reference to various forms of evidence and demonstration. The journal assesses incoming manuscripts using double-blind peer review involving at least two reviewers. Accepted manuscripts are published as PDFs with full open access and authors retain the copyright to their work.

Important dates

March 31, 2024:                                                                           Extended abstracts due

April 15, 2024:                                                                              Notification of authors

October 1, 2024:                                                                          Full papers due (for peer review)


Bridge, G., Bulkeley, H., Langley, P., & van Veelen, B. (2020). Pluralizing and problematizing carbon finance. Progress in Human Geography, 44(4), 724-742.

Breslau, D. (2013). Designing a market-like entity: Economics in the politics of market formation. Social Studies of Science, 43(6), 829-851.

Bouzarovski, S. (2014). Energy poverty in the European Union: Landscapes of vulnerability. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, 3(3), 276-289.

Cointe, B., & Nadaï, A. (2018). Feed-in tariffs in the European Union: Renewable energy policy, the internal electricity market and economic expertise. Springer.

Doganova, L., & Karnøe, P. (2015). Building markets for clean technologies: Controversies, environmental concerns and economic worth. Industrial Marketing Management44, 22-31.

Ehrenstein, V., & Muniesa, F. (2013). The conditional sink: Counterfactual display in the valuation of a carbon offsetting reforestation project. Valuation Studies1(2), 161-188.

Jenkins, K. E., Sovacool, B. K., Mouter, N., Hacking, N., Burns, M. K., & McCauley, D. (2021). The methodologies, geographies, and technologies of energy justice: a systematic and comprehensive review. Environmental Research Letters, 16(4), 043009.

Kirkegaard, J.K., Cronin, T., Nyborg, S., & Karnøe, P. (2021). Paradigm shift in Danish wind power: the (un) sustainable transformation of a sector. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning23(1), 97-113.

Kirkegaard, J. K., Rudolph, D., Nyborg, S., & Cronin, T. (2023). The landrush of wind energy, its socio-material workings, and its political consequences: On the entanglement of land and wind assemblages in Denmark. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space41(3), 548-566.

Kuchler, M., & Bridge, G. (2018). Down the black hole: Sustaining national socio-technical imaginaries of coal in Poland. Energy Research & Social Science, 41, 136-147.

Missemer, A. (2017). Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and degrowth. The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 24(3), 493-506.

Nadaï, A., & Cointe, B. (2020). Turning sunlit rooftops and windy sites into energy assets. In Birch, K., & Muniesa, F. (Eds.),  Assetization: Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism. MIT Press.

Pallesen, T. (2016). Valuation struggles over pricing–determining the worth of wind power. Journal of Cultural Economy9(6), 527-540.

Pallesen, T., & Jacobsen, P. H. (2021). Demonstrating a flexible electricity consumer: keeping sight of sites in a real-world experiment. Science as Culture, 30(2), 172-191.

Russ, D. (2020). Speaking for the ‘world power economy’: electricity, energo-materialist economics, and the World Energy Council (1924-78). Journal of Gloabl History 15(2), 311-329.

Silvast, A. (2017a). Making electricity resilient: risk and security in a liberalized infrastructure. Taylor & Francis.

Silvast, A. (2017b). Energy, economics, and performativity: Reviewing theoretical advances in social studies of markets and energy. Energy Research & Social Science, 34, 4-12.

Szulecki, K., & Overland, I. (2020). Energy democracy as a process, an outcome and a goal: A conceptual review. Energy Research & Social Science, 69, 101768.

Turnbull, T. (2023). From State to Market: A Transition in the Economics of Energy Resource Conservation. In S. Gross, & Needham, A. (Eds.), New Energies: A History of Energy Transitions in Europe and North America (pp. 131-148). University of Pittsburgh Press.