Negotiating stability and transformation through discourses of energy resilience

Caroline Sejer Damgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Considering the urgent need for a low-carbon transition, increasing focus on ‘resilience’ in the energy context raises questions about the discursive function of resilience in the energy field. The resilience concept is characterised by internal contradictions, embracing notions of persistence as well as transformation. This article presents results of a critical discourse analysis, exploring the discursive role of resilience as applied by actors across the UK energy system. Publications from the EU, the UK Government, local authorities, community energy organisations and network/utility companies are analysed, with a focus on discourses across different organisational scales. Drawing on Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theoretical notions of floating signifiers, nodal points and chains of signification, the article identifies distinct hegemonic and counter-hegemonic discourses of resilience. Findings indicate substantial mixing of discourses, motivating reflection over the complexity and vitality of energy systems, as well as the commitment of political actors to an energy transition agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-40
Issue number1
Early online date22 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • Energy systems
  • Resilience
  • Low-carbon transition
  • Discourse analysis
  • Adaptation
  • UK


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