Flexible and Inflexible Energy Engagements – a Study of the Danish Smart Grid Strategy

Lea Schick, Christopher Gad

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


According to many visions for smart grids, consumers will come to play a more ‘active’ role in the energy systems of tomorrow. In this paper, we examine how the future ‘flexible electricity consumer’ is imagined in the Danish National Smart Grid Strategy. Our analysis of reports produced by the national Smart Grid Network shows that this vision relies on a techno-centric and rather ‘inflexible’ consumer figuration. However, rather than adopting a conventional social science approach in order to criticize this narrow imaginary, we show that potentials for critique and alternatives can be found internally in the Smart Grid Network. Paying attention to different stories, we thus aim to characterize particular forms of ‘infra-critique’ and ‘infra-reflexivity’ emerging from within the field. This mode of reflexivity, we argue, opens up to more flexible and reflexive conceptions of the ‘flexible electricity consumer’ as well as more flexible relations between ‘the technical’ and ‘the social.’
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Pages (from-to)51–59
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Smart grid; Energy; Consumer; User figuration; STS; Infra-reflexivity


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