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The methodologies, geographies, and technologies of energy justice: A systematic and comprehensive review

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  • Kirsten E.H. Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • ,
  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • Niek Mouter, Delft University of Technology
  • ,
  • Nick Hacking, Cardiff University
  • ,
  • Mary Kate Burns, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • ,
  • Darren McCauley, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The energy justice literature has seen a rapid surge in both academic and practical popularity. However, there has been less systematic reflection on the research conducted so far, its scope or contribution, nor what it might mean for the future of the concept. To provide insights, this paper presents the results of a systematic and comprehensive review of 155 peer-reviewed articles published across eight databases between January 2008 and December 2019. The aim is firstly to review the current state of the art in the energy justice literature and, secondly, to present findings that support novel recommendations with the potential to enhance the impact of energy justice research, including applications in the economic and planning policy sectors. Critically, our study demonstrates that the literature lacks diversity in its author basis and research design. By contrast, conceptual frameworks and the geographies and technologies of global energy injustice are proliferating. These results illustrate that energy justice has power and agency as a tool. It can act as a protagonist in energy research, provoking researchers to remain reflexively normative and active in identifying injustices and vulnerabilities, and it can act as a promising progenitor, creating new research methods and themes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043009
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Energy ethics, Energy justice, Energy policy, Research impact, Systematic review

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