Digitalisation as promissory infrastructure for sustainability

Ingmar Lippert

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Supposedly, digitalisation offers new capacities and directions for environmental politics and governance. This chapter critically introduces the discursive trajectories of three 'developments', sustainable development, digitalisation and capitalist acceleration. Analytically, I approach these trajectories with the sociology of promises, environmental sociology and science and technology studies. To illustrate how subjects and environments are differently (con)figured at the intersection of these trajectories, I attend to two contexts and ask for each how subjects and environments are (con)figured. The contexts are global discourses and local dispositifs of smart cities and of carbon accounting/datafication. The chapter concludes in terms of digitalisation as promissory infrastructural relations that cut across these contexts. This raises avenues for critical environmental politics studies that are sensitive to discourses and dispositifs of greening in relation to recent innovations in analytics that recognise both epistemic/epistemological and ontic/ontological politics. With such attention, interesting problematisations and questions about transformative and conservative potentials emerge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Handbook of Critical Environmental Politics : Elgar Handbooks in Energy, the Environment and Climate Change
EditorsLuigi Pellizzioni, Emanuele Leonardi, Viviana Asara
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication date25 Oct 2022
ISBN (Electronic) 9781839100673
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2022


  • Digitalisation
  • Ecomodernism
  • Ecological modernisation
  • smart cities
  • carbon accounting
  • sustainable development
  • discourse
  • capitalist accelerationism
  • infrastructure studies


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