Energy, households, gender and science: a feminist retrofit framework for transdisciplinary research



Publication Details

Waitt , G. (2018). Energy, households, gender and science: a feminist retrofit framework for transdisciplinary research. Area, 50 (3), 314-321.


The energy field is characterised by an unusual degree of transdisciplinary research. At a moment when transdisciplinary work is valued within certain policy realms for its more apparent relevance and problem‐solving attributes to global challenges, it is therefore helpful to consider frameworks that may facilitate such research. To do so, this paper explores how feminist geographers might help recognise and mitigate against the imbalances of power in relationships between researchers from different disciplines by carefully considering questions of epistemology and methodology in collaborative projects. Attentive to the feminist concepts of ‘situated knowledge’ and ‘reflexivity’, this paper examines what constitutes acceptably scholarly knowledge on domestic energy. The paper thus proposes a feminist retrofit framework (FRF) with three components: (i) gendered science and knowledge of domestic energy efficiency; (ii) everyday knowledge of domestic energy efficiency; and (iii) experimental participatory approaches to investigating energy efficiency. By bringing into conversation feminist science studies and feminist post‐structuralist geography, the proposed FRF facilitates rigorous analyses of gender, power and epistemologies in energy research. To illustrate one way to achieve more equitable energy research and interventions, the paper draws on three events in which [self‐]reflexivity contests and extends conventional approaches to conducting a domestic energy project with older low‐income households in a regional centre of New South Wales, Australia.

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