Energy and energy consumption have become core issues in debates on sustainable futures. What can social sciences contribute to those discourses? In her dissertation, Ursula approaches domestic energy consumption from the point of view of users as actors of technology diffusion. Focusing on what Ruth Schwartz Cowan has called ‘the consumption junction’, allows her to investigate both the choices users perceive or have and the structuring of choice inherent in technology.
By carefully reconstructing the home-making practices related to domestic energy consumption, the project aims at giving ‘thick descriptions’ of the co-constructions of users and technologies, thereby showing different forms of how gender is made relevant in these processes. Hence, the contribution to debates on energy consists of analyzing the technical and the social as a seamless web and thereby deepening our understanding of social and technological change.
Ursula finished her PhD in December 2014. The monograph appeared in early summer 2016 under the title "Geschlecht und Gemütlichkeit. Paarentscheidungen über das beheizte Zuhause" (Gender and cozyness - how couples decide on the heated home) in the German series "Qualitative Soziologie" (qualitative Sociology).