Maybe it’s too much of a detail for this blog, but still I think it’s good to mention the theory framework that guides my process as it shows the mindset of this project:
- Constructivism, which argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences. As behavior is open to change through learning, the importance of understanding learning processes is clear. Constructivism can contribute to energy research by highlighting the affective dimension to learning and the importance of the context within which learning happens. Changes in energy awareness and usage are more readily explained in terms of a constructivist than a behaviorist paradigm (e.g Ajzen’s).
- Social Practices. The social practices model, derived from constructivism and offers a feasible alternative in this respect, because the model makes possible a sociological, ‘‘contextual’’ approach to consumption behaviors and lifestyles. The social structures are no longer treated as external variables but are brought into the center of the analysis. Hence, the question that arises is what environmental heuristics can consumers develop for each social practice, once they get feedback on their energy consumption?
- Communities of Practice, can be defined as ‘groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.’ They operate as ‘social learning systems’ where practitioners connect to solve problems, share ideas, set standards, build tools, and develop relationships with peer and stakeholders . . . [They] feature peer-to-peer collaborative activities to build member skills and steward the knowledge assets of organizations and society”. In my case, how the gained knowledge can be disseminated among the actors.
I believe the three theories shape a very nice framework to test how feeback from energy meters help to understand energy and the household system better, how the gained knowledge can be translated into new practices, and last how the new practices and knowledge can be disemminated to the community. Probably, I will be able to test only some aspects of all these as differently I would have to pursue a PhD to accomplish it…but still it worths trying…