Marfuga Iskandarova

Discipline: Management

Project Summary

In my PhD thesis I examine whether study of the controversial evolution of energy systems and emerging energy technologies can contribute to the debates in energy policy and STS, especially those concerning the ongoing search for solutions to energy and environmental problems through promotion of low-carbon technologies. The discourse around a wave energy project, Wave Hub in Cornwall, UK, is critically reviewed, as regards stakeholder assumptions about technological feasibility of the project. The case study reveals, the project is associated with various controversies and problematic temporalities. Deliberations concerning viability of expectations about the completion of the project and its pivotal role in early commercialisation of wave energy sector are examined. Construction of credibility and viability of the technological project is considered and the formation of the 'public face’ of the project, or discourses justifying its idea and implementation, is explored, as well as various meanings attributed to Wave Hub and its symbolic capital. Consideration is also given to the political dimensions of credibility, including the promissory role of policy discourse. To understand the role of policy, an actor-network theory approach for analysis of Wave Hub is employed, which allows the commonly assumed a priori distinctions between micro and macro and of an idea of ‘macro context’ to be questioned; the utility of an analytical approach to policy as an actant is thus investigated. I ask to what extent, and in what sense, policy can be understood as an element of an actor-network, not merely a context. Furthermore, this helps to build a critical discussion around the evolution of the actor-network with policy as its active element and critically assess to what extent this approach might help to understand the destiny of a technological project. The politics of expertise in the case of Wave Hub is shown to play a critical role for credibility-economy of the project. I show how the expertise is understood and performed in the case of Wave Hub and for which purpose, how the expert knowledge and the expert status are constituted and explore the question of self-representation of experts. I study the contestation of expertise and its categorisation, analyse various forms of collaboration formed around Wave Hub, but also antagonism which was revealed between different groups of experts.

Wider Research Interests

My research interests include Science and Technology Studies (STS), Renewable Energy, Energy Policy, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), Sustainability, Environmental Law, International Law.