Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The grit in the oyster: using energy biographies to question socio-technical imaginaries of 'smartness'

Groves, Christopher ORCID:, Henwood, Karen ORCID:, Shirani, Fiona, Butler, Catherine, Parkhill, Karen and Pidgeon, Nick ORCID: 2016. The grit in the oyster: using energy biographies to question socio-technical imaginaries of 'smartness'. Journal of Responsible Innovation 3 (1) , pp. 4-25. 10.1080/23299460.2016.1178897

[thumbnail of Groves et al 2016.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
License URL:
License Start date: 1 January 2016


It has been argued that responsible research and innovation (RRI) requires critique of the ‘worlds’ implicated in the future imaginaries associated with new technologies. Qualitative social science research can aid deliberation on imaginaries by exploring the meanings of technologies within everyday practices, as demonstrated by Yolande Strengers’ work on imaginaries of ‘smartness’. In this paper, we show how a novel combination of narrative interviews and multimodal methods can help explore future imaginaries of smartness through the lens of biographical experiences of socio-technical changes in domestic energy use. In particular, this approach can open up a critical space around socio-technical imaginaries by exploring the investments that individuals have in different forms of engagement with the world. The paper works with a psychosocial conceptual framework that draws on theoretical resources from science and technology studies to explain how valued forms of subjectivity may be conceptualised as emerging out of the ‘friction’ of engagement with the world. Using this framework, we show how biographical narratives of engagement with technologies from the Energy Biographies project can extend into critical deliberation on future imaginaries. The paper demonstrates the value of ‘thick’ data relating to the affective dimensions of subjective experience for RRI.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 2329-9460
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 April 2016
Date of Acceptance: 12 April 2016
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 06:06

Citation Data

Cited 19 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics