“Between Two Giants: Materialism and the Social Imaginary in the Energy (Transitions) of Hungary”, John Szabo (IWE CERS, Hungary)

Power lines, reactors and radioactive waste repositories, generators, furnaces, and photoelectric cells: citizens may think that they have little to do with these infrastructures but they have defined social relations for decades. Energy systems play a prominent role in encoding, sustaining, and developing how relations of production are constituted. In recent centuries, fossil fuels have underpinned an economic growth-oriented paradigm interlinked with bloating energy-intensive industrial output – a dynamic which has become inextricably fused with prevalent social imaginaries1. In Hungary, the energy and climate imaginaries are shaped by political and economic visions and decisions, and they filter into society through ideologies, mediated by information and propaganda. The resulting energy imaginary is a collection of the norms which determine the way in which society thinks about energy and how consumption practices institutionalize.

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