After decades of theoretical neglect of material properties and relations, a much welcome material turn within social science energy research has recently raised discussions of materiality to the centre of current debates. So far, the efforts to rematerialize energy has to a large extent drawn on new materialist thinking. Against the substantivalist conception of energy resources as self-standing natural things with inherent properties new materialists have developed relational conceptions that are anti-essentialist and emphasize indeterminacy, contingency, and unruliness. This article critically and constructively discusses new materialism, some of its limitations and problems, and how a critical realist perspective can resolve these. Based on the concept of emergence, a stratified conception of natural resources is developed, which seeks to dialectically sublate conceptions of natural resources as either things-in-themselves with intrinsic properties or relational effects.
- Tvärvetenskapliga studier