Towards an emotional energy geography: attending to emotions and affects in a former coal mining community in South Wales, UK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Blaengad Cyf
  • University of South Wales


In this paper, we make a case for bringing energy geography into closer dialogue with emotional geography, and argue that doing so has the potential to greatly improve our understanding of energy systems and their intersection with everyday life, bringing essential but often overlooked aspects into view. We draw on research carried out as part of an arts and humanities-based project in South Wales (UK), a region once dominated by coal extraction. We present and discuss material from sixteen oral histories recorded with long-standing members of the village of Ynysybwl. Reading their accounts through the lens of emotional-affective constructs reveals not only participants’ emotions about aspects of energy production and consumption, but also the atmospheres and affects arising within and out of the energy system. This brings to light the affectual agency of the energy system as an infrastructure assemblage and its role in everyday production of space. Related to this, it surfaces essential aspects of experiences of energy system change. We argue that recognising and exploring affect and emotion is crucial for energy geography as it continues to explore the functionings of energy systems, and energy transitions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
Early online date17 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Atmosphere, Oral history, Energy transition, Assemblage, Whole energy system, Infrastructure