The Sociocultural Carbon (SOCCAR) project is a 4-year (2019-2023) research project aimed at gaining a novel understanding of the social and cultural challenges of living with ‘carbon’ in the form of emission data. Such data are today circulating in various forms through digital and informational technologies, whereby they present a moral ‘metric’ of the human as a climate subject. But in what way do they inform human agency or generate any lasting social or cultural change?
The project draws upon methodologies and theories from across the social sciences but especially anthropology, sociology, geography and science and technology studies (STS).
The project is funded by a Sapere Aude Starting Grant from the Independent Research Fund Denmark (Danmarks Frie Forskningsråd).
The objective of the SOCCAR project is to produce novel understandings of the social and cultural value of carbon emission data. Many people in the global north are aware of climate change and find it important to mitigate its consequences, yet they pursue high-emission lifestyles despite having access to multiple digital means for managing emission data.
Qualitative social studies of mitigation strategies have largely focused on governance or on the making of carbon markets, credits and emission data as creating climate conscious subjects and facilitating change of the actions that lead to emissions.
There has been far less attention to situations where this change fails to appear, and how the context of the everyday lives of those subjects depend upon cultural continuity. This ethnographic research project, instead of assuming technology and ‘datafication’ to generate change in any profound way, focuses on the felt contradictions and values inherent to the discrepancy between knowledge and practice.