Rhythms animate our lives and the worlds we inhabit. Rhythms of getting things done, of working technologies, of day and night and the seasons, and of shared patterns of work, home-life and moving around. Rhythms are also intrinsically about flows of energy – heat, light, motion – from the smallest movements of muscles, to the petrol-fuelled rhythms of the rush hour, the spinning of wind turbines and shifting cycles of solar radiation. This book sets out to energise Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis in order to develop a novel and far reaching polyrhythmic conceptualisation of the beats and pulses of our relations with energy in both its natural and technological forms. Social theory, thermodynamic thinking and diverse streams of energy-oriented research are brought together to trace how the climate crisis has the rhythmic patterning of big power energy systems at its core; and how transitioning to a just, low carbon future means transforming energy systems and our everyday dependencies on them into new rhythmic patterns and interrelations.
Gordon Walker is professor of environment and justice at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University.
Chapter 1 Introduction: Energy and Rhythm Together
Chapter 2 Rhythm and Rhythmanalysis: Interpretation and Foundation
Chapter 3 Energetic Rhythms: Thermodynamics and Rhythmanalysis
Chapter 4: Solar and Social Rhythms: Light, Heat and Polyrhythmic Change
Chapter 5: Rhythms in Energy Systems: Grid Electricity and Big (Carbon) Power
Chapter 6: Low Carbon Rhythms and Electricity Systems in Polyrhythmic Transition
Chapter 7 Rhythms without Techno-energies: Bodies, Homes and Cities
Walker offers readers his view (extending Lefebvre's theory of rhythmanalysis) that the challenge of a low carbon future can be framed in terms of mastering the interactions between different forms of energy and the various rhythms that define people's lives, from natural circadian rhythms to the omnipresent technological rhythms of 21st-century life. Given this context, the challenges of a low carbon future can be alternatively considered by reimagining these rhythms and creating new rhythms that better position humans for a sustainable future. . . . Framing the current energy challenges in terms of rhythms is an interesting and novel idea that may appeal to individuals as they consider how to contribute to the coming and inevitable energy transition. Recommended.
Energy and Rhythm represents a groundbreaking rethinking of the relationship between energy and daily life. Walker presents a highly readable and truly original account of how energy systems have come to be the way they are and what it will take to transform them for a low carbon future. I highly recommend.
Rhythm and Energy in Society provides an urgently needed account of how and why it is necessary to bring energy and time together to tackle climate change and achieve low carbon futures. Walker offers an intellectually rigorous and innovative framework for how a carbon-dependent existence can and should be understood as dynamic rhythms in transition. This excellent book is essential reading for all scholars concerned with climate, energy and social change.