[see update!] PhD funding at QUB for Before Energy Citizenship: Energy, Culture and Place-based Identities in the UK, 1950s–1990s

UPDATE: see the new advert, with extended deadline, here.

Applications are invited for a funded PhD position at the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queen’s University Belfast.

Project: Before Energy Citizenship: Energy, Culture and Place-based Identities in the UK, 1950s–1990s

  • Type: Full Time PhD
  • Location: Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK
  • Funding for: UK and EU* students 
    • *NI Department for the Economy funding regulations apply.
  • Application Deadline: 31 March 2021
  • Principal Supervisor: Dr Hiroki Shin

Project Description

This PhD project provides an opportunity to explore the historical interplay among modern energy life, public culture and consumer identity formation in late 20th century Britain.

The concept of energy citizenship has recently attracted intense academic interest in humanities and social sciences research on energy and climate change. In contrast to the conventional image of energy users as passive recipients of energy services, the scholarship on energy citizenship envisages energy users as active agents for energy systems’ evolution. This project contributes to the expanding literature on energy citizenship from a historical perspective by drawing upon the rich historiography on consumer citizenship and local/regional identity formation. Departing from the universalised idea of the ‘energy consumer’ identity, this project considers culturally attenuated and place-based modes of energy users’ identity formation, which have been shaped by local energy landscapes and local energy cultures. The project’s chronological focus begins with the 1950s, when modern energy appliances saw a strong penetration into Britain’s domestic and public spaces, and extends to the 1990s, a decade when the rise of the climate change debate began to question the energy-intensive consumer life. Through its investigation of the pre-history of energy citizenship, the project reconsiders the impact of modern energy consumption on social and cultural identity formation in late 20th century Britain.

The successful candidate will develop the project in her/his own direction, but some questions to address include:

  • How has modern energy life been articulated in cultural media, such as films, literature, museum displays and artworks, and what do they tell us about modern consumers’ identities as energy users, workers or citizens?
  • How have local energy landscapes (e.g., coal mines, power plants, gas fields, oil refineries, pylons and pipelines) contributed to the formation of distinctive local energy identities?
  • How have pre-existing local identities and memories shaped the public’s attitudes toward environmental movements, citizen protests and early responses to climate change discussions?

The candidate will develop case studies that ideally include some element of regional comparison within the UK. The project involves both online and archival research as well as an extensive survey of the existing literature on energy history, energy humanities, consumption history, cultural studies and science and technology studies. The candidate will be encouraged to incorporate non-textual sources into her/his study, including visual sources, material objects, heritage sites and oral histories.

All applicants must submit a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words on the research theme outlined in this call.

To apply for this studentship, please visit: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/phd-opportunities/before-energy-citizenship-energy-culture-and-placebased-identities-in-the-uk-1950s1990s.html