Digital technology and energy imaginaries of future home life: comic-strip scenarios as a method to disrupt energy industry futures

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22 Citations (Scopus)


This article advances a qualitative scenario methodology involving comic-strip representations of digital technology and energy industry imaginaries in everyday life situations to reveal and ultimately disrupt their embedded narratives and assumptions. Six comic-strip scenarios were developed from a qualitative content analysis of 64 industry reports from the energy and digital technology (including artificial intelligence, automation, smart home technology and virtual reality) sectors. The scenarios consider digital and energy futures in relation to household social practice domains, such as working and studying, caring, or heating and cooling, where the majority of energy consumption takes place. The article contributes a methodological approach that allows social scientists to explore complementary and competing industry imaginaries within a particular area such as the home. It simultaneously reveals how this playful method can productively disrupt these imaginaries, laying the path to advance alternative futures. We conclude that energy imaginaries need to be urgently revised to take digital technology imaginaries into account, and to be grounded in the unfolding and dynamic changes to everyday life. We outline our plans to further explore the future scenarios, including as part of industry conversations and presentations, as speculative probes in ethnographic research, and in research or teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102366
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Comic-strips
  • Digital technology
  • Energy futures
  • Scenarios
  • Social practices
  • Sociotechnical imaginaries

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