2015. Tidwell and Smith. "Morals, Materials, and Technoscience: The Energy Security Imaginary in the United States"


"This article advances recent scholarship on energy security by arguing that the concept is best understood as a sociotechnical imaginary, a collective vision for a ‘‘good society’’ realized through technoscientific-oriented policies. Focusing on the 1952 Resources for Freedom report, the authors trace the genealogy of energy security, elucidating how it establishes a morality of efficiency that orients policy action under the guise of security toward the liberalizing of markets in resource states and a robust program of energy research and development in the United States. This evidence challenges the pervasive historical anchoring of the concept in the 1970s and illustrates the importance of the genealogical approach for the emerging literature on energy and sociotechnical imaginaries. Exploring the genealogy of energysecurity also unpacks key social, political, and economic undercurrents that disrupt the seeming universality of the language of energy, leading the authors to question whether energy security discourse is appropriate for guiding policy action during ongoing global energy transitions."

Keywords: politics, power, governance, markets/economies, environmental practices


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Contributed date

May 27, 2018 - 12:11am

Critical Commentary

In this 2015 article, Abraham S. D. Tidwell and Jessica M. Smith extend the literature of energy security with the concept of a sociotechnical imaginary. 



Cite as

Abraham S. D. Tidwell and Jessica M. Smith, "2015. Tidwell and Smith. "Morals, Materials, and Technoscience: The Energy Security Imaginary in the United States"", contributed by Maggie Woodruff, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 4 June 2018, accessed 25 May 2024. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/2015-tidwell-and-smith-morals-materials-and-technoscience-energy-security-imaginary-united