Journal article

Emerging dimensions of networked energy citizenship: the case of coal seam gas mobilisation in Australia

Natural gas Political campaigns Social media Fracking Transport and land use plan Coal seam gas Climate change adaptation
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Coal Seam Gas (CSG) activities have mobilised new political coalitions across the traditional left/right political divide in the eastern Australian states. Through the charting of these activities we propose the concept of ‘networked energy citizenship’ to capture the tensions between fossil fuel capital and the rural and urban alliances that form in response to a range of concerns and unexpected connections. These include bubbling rivers, pipelines routes and new duties thrust upon landholders. We emphasise the advantages of analysing online data around energy issues as part of traditional qualitative data gathering. This article reports empirical findings from a custom database of tweets around CSG issues and theorises the politics of knowledge at stake in this challenge to stateappointed expertise. We apply the Economic Sociology concepts of ‘bridging’ and ‘brokering’, to analyse the distinctive structure of the online issue networks around CSG; however, we remain wary of claims of predictive power which tend to gloss the material conditions and political character of these networks. For this reason, online expressions of concern around unconventional gas should be understood as ‘events’ implicated in a wider set of economic, political and techno-scientific processes.

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