Alternative Forms of Energy Production and Political Reconfigurations: The Sociology of Alternative Energies as a Study of Collective Reorganization Potential

By Yannick Rumpala

Energy choices that are made in a society are also political choices. This article aims to study the extent to which these choices can be reoriented by technological developments related to renewable energies, thus contributing to a redistribution of possibilities and to social reorganization. Three steps are proposed to show that while the development of alternative energies depends on technological advances, it can, in this process, also reveal political potentials : 1) the first step clarifies the theoretical arguments that can be deployed in favour of an approach in terms of “technological potentialism”; 2) the second step extends this approach by identifying a set of potentials linked to renewable energies and the model that could take shape through these alternative forms; 3) the third step examines how these potentials could find ways of being updated.

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