Beyond the Office: Cultivating Situated Knowledge and Expertise in Energy Policy

  • Ask Greve Johansen (Foredragsholder)
  • Holm Jacobsen, P. (Foredragsholder)
  • Jens Iuel-Stissing (Foredragsholder)

Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


How is expertise assembled in government offices to promote future carbon-neutral energy systems? In recent years, the production of biogas in Denmark has increased rapidly. This increase coincides with a broad political agreement made in 2012, which increased subsidies and designated a governmental task force in the Danish Energy Agency (DEA) to overcome barriers to growth in the industry.

We describe the task force as activities cultivating situated knowledge on technical, systemic, and economic challenges concerning biogas. We draw on interviews with bureaucrats, lobbyists, scientists, and NGO representatives participating in the Task Force activities, as well as document analysis (Asdal & Reinertsen 2021) collected from 2021.

Bureaucratic expertise is often portrayed as a highly disciplined and procedural affair (Asdal, 2014; Mangset and Asdal, 2019; Nass, 1986; Weber, 2019). From an STS approach, we describe a bureaucratic expertise concerned less with establishing facts, legibility, formal authority, and more with extending agency beyond the formal competence of the DEA, being committed to practical problems experienced by industry actors and investors.

We show how government office pursues extensive collaboration with 'stakeholders', and a collective articulation of biogas as a viable future energy source, rather than establishing the viability of biogas as a fact and the state as the legitimate authority on the matter. Governing through less formal practice and with select stakeholders might be deemed proper but may undermine the legitimacy of this form of exercise of state power. Interested publics may disappear from view - and knowledge asymmetries between market actors and government regulators may be exploited.
Periode9 jun. 2023
Begivenhedstitel6th Nordic STS Conference 2023: Disruption and Repair in and Beyond STS
ArrangørUniversitetet i Oslo
PlaceringOslo, NorgeVis på kort