Published In

Canadian Journal of Communication

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2015

Keywords

Smart power grids, Economics -- Political aspects, Marxism

Abstract

This article investigates how digital technologies in the energy sector are enabling increased value extraction in the cycle of capital accumulation through surveillant proceesses of everyday energy consumption. We offer critical theory (Gramsci, Foucault) and critical political economy (Marx) as a guide for critical understanding of value creation in ICT through quotidian processes and practices of social reproduction. In this regard, the concept of the "prosumer" is extended beyond notions of voluntary participation in Web 2.0 to the political economy of energy use. Within this broad framework we investigate national and local level "smart grid" campaigns and projects. The "smartening" of the energy grid, we find, is both an ideological construct and a technological rationalization for facilitating capital accumulation through data collection, analysis, segmentation of consumers, and variable electricity pricing schemes to standardize social practices within and outside the home. We look at BC Hydro as one illustration of where such practices are being instituted.

Description

© 2015 Canadian Journal of communication corporation. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada Licence. This licence allows anyone to copy and distribute the article for non-commercial purposes provided that appropriate attribution is given.

This article can be found online at: http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2928

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/16347

Share

COinS