The following dissertation projects are currently ongoing at the Sociology Research Unit.

Rewiring Power – Reshaping Energy Distribution and Statehood through the National Smart Grid Mission in India

Lucas Barning

Expected completion: 2024

Supervision: Simon Güntner | Ashwini K. Swain, Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi), opens an external URL in a new window

The dissertation project (2019-2024) examines the changing relation between electricity consumers and the state in the transformation from conventional to “Smart Grid” (SG) energy systems at the example of the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM, 2015-2025) in India. Informed by Assemblage Theory, the project focusses on the reconfiguration of a variety of actors (e. g. governmental institutions, private companies and consumers, but also policies, technologies and practices) which is understood to alter the scales and places of energy governance and concomitantly to reshape statehood.

Energiekonsum, Stadt & soziale Milieus

Nadine Haufe

Expected completion: 2024

Supervision: Jens Dangschat

As the effects of climate change and discussions about the energy and transport turnaround become increasingly clear, as well as the demand for livable cities, there is a growing realization that individual consumption of energy in cities must also change in order to achieve the Paris climate goals and thus limit negative long-term consequences for the environment and society.

In order to increase the effectiveness of measures to promote sustainable energy consumption practices in the CO2-intensive areas of housing and mobility, social milieus, i.e. attitude-based approaches, have been used for several years to segment the population into (target) groups - all too often, however, spatial-material aspects remain unconsidered and desired successes fall short of expectations.

The aim of the dissertation is to determine a milieu-specific model for describing and explaining individual energy consumption in the areas of housing and mobility, including the spatial-material dimensions, in order to better promote ecologically sustainable energy consumption with a target-group-specific approach. Socio-spatial conditions for ecologically sustainable energy consumption in the city and milieu-specific barriers to behavioral change in the areas of mobility and housing will be identified on the basis of a Viennese study, and consequences for the actions of social actors (politics, municipalities, companies, associations, initiatives) or the setting of measures (information campaigns, funding policy, regulatory instruments) will be derived.

Working title "The learning city"

Anna Caroline Aigner

Planned completion: 2027

Supervision: Simon Güntner

Anna Aigner's dissertation project focuses on the relationship between experimentation and learning in urban areas, in particular on how urban actors can learn through experimental interventions to improve urban development processes and promote urban resilience to climate change. By analysing successful urban experiments, such as the 'Wiener Klimateam', the aim is to identify how these interventions contribute to improved understanding and adaptation to social and environmental challenges and how they influence long-term urban planning practices. The focus is on how learning from these experiments influences and institutionalises new modes of action and practices in urban development.