Please see our call for papers for this year’s Institute of Australian Geographers conference – Brisbane 11-14 July 2017 


Critical Reappraisals of Energy: From Policy to Political Economy


Session Organizers: Sangeetha Chandrashekeran (University of Melbourne), Sally Weller (Australian Catholic University)


Major changes in energy production, distribution and consumption are a feature of the contemporary socio-political and economic landscape. Technocratic and activist accounts of the ‘problem’ and its ‘solutions’ proliferate and intertwine, but the underlying structural analysis remains weak. Stepping back from these instrumental approaches, critical geographical accounts of energy have focused on the evolving relationship between states and markets. They ask how the interactions of states and markets shape energy infrastructures and practices, and how state and market formations, and wider processes of regional development, are shaped by energy as a ‘fundamental background to modern everyday life’ (Graham, 2010)?


This session invites papers that focus on energy and its associated institutions, networks, socio-technical artefacts and lived practices to make contributions on broader questions of political economy. The questions it asks centre on the contradictions and complementarities amongst states and markets in energy transformations. More specific questions are:


·         How does energy, broadly conceived, link to the changing character of political economy (Mitchell, 2011)?

·         How is the political economy of energy being transformed by ecological imperatives?

·         How does a study of energy illuminate the changing role of the state and state-mediated institutions?

·         How will the politics of energy play out in post-political (Swyngedouw, 2010) or anti-political (Clarke, 2012) contexts? 

·         How will post-Brexit populism, as reaction to technocratic rule, transform debates about energy security and energy poverty?

·         How do the characteristics of state administration and governance, such as Australia's federal structure, influence the trajectories of change and the penetration of market models of energy provision?

·         What are the socio-political and economic implications of innovative new forms of provision (for example data-driven energy service provision and distributed privately-owned generation)?  


Abstracts that address these or related questions about the political economy of energy are sought.


If you are interested in participating, please email abstracts to Sangeetha Chandra-Shekeran ( Please also email  and submit through the conference website 


Abstract submission closes April 5th


Clarke, N., 2012. Urban policy mobility, anti-politics, and histories of the transnational municipal movement. Progress in Human Geography, 36(1), pp.25-43.

Graham, S. ed., 2010. Disrupted cities: When infrastructure fails. Routledge.

Mitchell, T. 2011. Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. London:Verso Books.

Swyngedouw, E., 2010. Apocalypse forever? Post-political populism and the spectre of climate change. Theory, Culture & Society, 27(2-3), pp.213-232.



Dr Sangeetha Chandrashekeran  |  Lecturer

School of Geography   Faculty of Science

Room 2.40, 221 Bouverie Street,

The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia

T: +61 3 8344 2661  M: +61 418 329 689  E:   





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