Associate Professor Steffen Dalsgaard has received funding for the research proposal for SOCCAR (Sociocultural Carbon) from the Independent Research
Fund Denmark’s (DFF) ERC-programme which aims to strengthen the opportunities for talented researchers to obtain grants from the European
The SOCCAR project
The SOCCAR project seeks to produce novel theoretical and conceptual understandings of the social and cultural value of carbon emission data. Many people in the global north are aware of climate change and find it important to mitigate its consequences, but continue living high-emission lifestyles despite having access to multiple digital means for managing emission data.
Qualitative social studies of mitigation strategies have largely focused on governance or on the making of carbon markets, credits and emission data as creating climate conscious subjects and facilitating change of the actions that lead to emissions. There has been far less attention to where this change fails to appear, and how the context of the everyday lives of those subjects depend upon continuity of cultural values. This project, instead of assuming that technology and ‘datafication’ generate change in any profound way, discusses the discrepancy between knowledge (of climate change) and practice (inaction) as a cultural value paradox, which must be understood in relation to people’s everyday lives.
The project will approach the topic ethnographically by studying how select groups of people practically ‘live with carbon data’ in relation to social status, infrastructures and continuity of values (‘cultural meaning’). Four relevant ethnographic sites in the global north are identified: An oil community in an environmentally conscious country (Norway), church communities engaged in carbon offsetting or ‘greening’, ‘eco-modernist’ climate data workers espousing a discourse on technological progress, and mobile financial elites trading in ‘green’ financial products (carbon credits, climate bonds).
The outcomes will be strong theoretical contributions to STS and anthropological debates about value and the relationship between technological change and sociocultural change/continuity, and novel insights into the human actions towards the mitigation of climate change.
Steffen Dalsgaard, email@example.com, Associate Professor, Technologies in Practice, Business IT