Crisis of the energy markets: experimentation and contention call for abstracts

23 Jun 2022

You are invited to submit abstracts for an international, virtual workshop on the theme of “Crisis in the energy markets,” to be held on 2-3 February 2023.

The project of decarbonizing the energy system has a complex and tense relationship to the project of remaking the sector as a set of integrated price-forming and competitive markets. That tension has been heightened by recent crises in the supply of energy. In many instances, the two goals are simply incompatible. As a result, energy markets are the object of intensive rethinking, struggle, and experimentation. The rules of the market, the identity of the actors involved, even cultural framings of what markets are and what is expected of them are at stake. The liberalized market and planning are no longer described by a single axis, but coexist in new configurations.

While there is an extensive literature on the recommended and desirable features of energy markets, this workshop is meant to encourage work that examines the complex process by which actual markets are shaped.  This includes perspectives from political economy, economic sociology, science and technology studies, finance and valuation studies, which are concerned with the emergent order of markets, in understanding the markets we get, rather than specifying what markets we want

The study of the energy sector also constitutes a formidable opportunity to understand economic regulation, its legitimacy requirements, its intellectual, ideological, and institutional resources. It presents an opportunity to question the delegation of this complex regulation to experts, and to challenge the strong inertia of institutionalized rules. Analyses of energy markets can both describe and participate in the political contestation over distribution, price, and access.

And finally, the reconfiguration of energy markets provides fertile ground for advancing our general understanding of processes of valuation, market formation, and economization.

Geographical scope: Global. Contributions from outside of Europe and North America are particularly welcome.

Subject area: Change in contemporary energy markets, including electricity, fuels (gas, petroleum, coal), energy-related materials (lithium, rare earth metals), and carbon emissions.

Disciplinary framework: any committed to the naturalistic study of actual processes of market formation, whether political, cultural, political-economic, sociological, including, but not limited to:

  • Economic Sociology
  • Market, finance, and valuation studies
  • Energy anthropology
  • Political economy
  • Science and technology studies
  • Human geography

Partial listing of possible themes:

  • Reconciling markets with government climate goals
  • Markets and energy justice
  • Experts as mediators
  • Grid integration at different scales
  • Demand management, consumers, and retail markets
  • Renewables integration
  • Assetising new entities: energy efficiency, storage, flexibility
  • Distributed resources, prosumers, and the devolution of market relations
  • Political crisis of market mechanisms
  • EU ETS, energy markets, and energy uses

Workshop date: February 2-3 (2 consecutive half-days)

Format: Virtual

Abstract submission deadline: 1 September 2022

Notification of acceptance: 1 October 2022

Full paper drafts due: 15 January 2023


Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment, Virginia Tech

PACTE (CNRS, Université Grenoble-Alpes)

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words, indicating empirical scope, conceptual/theoretical perspective, data and research methods, and main arguments/conclusions, to


Ronan Bolton – Science, Technology and Innovation Studies. School of Social and Political Science. University of Edinburgh

Daniel Breslau – Science, Technology, and Society, Virginia Tech

Thomas Reverdy – PACTE (CNRS, Université Grenoble-Alpes)