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Antti Silvast

Antti Silvast
Name
Antti Silvast
Title
Research Fellow - European Energy Policy and Markets
Address
B.1 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
Telephone
+44(0)131 650 3427
Email
Research Interests
Energy & Infrastructure, Climate change and energy policy, European Union, Risk and vulnerability, Social Studies of Finance, Everyday Life, Sociological Theory
URL
http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/staff/science_technology_and_innovation_studies/antti_silvast

My research focuses on energy systems, infrastructure, and risk. I have studied these issues ethnographically and by interviews, policy analysis, and surveys among high-level planners, electricity companies, and energy consumers in their homes. My current fellowship is at Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) at the University of Edinburgh. Before this, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. 

In May 2017, Routledge published my book Making Electricity Resilient: Risk and Security in a Liberalized Infrastructure. Drawing on multi-sited ethnographic field work, the book unpacks the work of the authorities, electricity companies, and lay persons that keeps energy systems from failing and helps them to recover from disruptions if they occur. It explores a number of sites in so doing: the historical security policy of energy infrastructures; control rooms where electricity is traded and maintained in real time; and electricity consumers in their homes.

I am editor of Science & Technology Studies, the official journal of European Association for the Study of Science and Technology and serve as the coordinator of European Sociological Association's Disaster, Conflict and Social Crisis Research Network.  Previously, I co-coordinated the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies Seminar Series in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh and was member of the organizing committee of the Network for Early Career Energy Researchers in the university.

Current projects

CV and full publication list

Selected publications

Books

Silvast, Antti (2017). Making Electricity Resilient: Risk and Security in a Liberalized Infrastructure. London: Routledge. 

Edited volumes

Silvast, Antti; Hänninen, Hannu & Hyysalo, Sampsa (2013, 2014). Energy in Society: Energy Systems and Infrastructures in Society. A triple special issue of Science & Technology Studies 26 (3), 27 (1), and 27 (2).

Articles in international refereed journals

Silvast, Antti (2017). Energy, Economics, and Performativity: Reviewing Theoretical Advances in Social Studies of Markets and EnergyEnergy Research & Social Science 34: 4–12.

Jalas, Mikko; Rinkinen, Jenny & Silvast, Antti (2016). The Rhythms of InfrastructureAnthropology Today 32 (4): 17-20.

Silvast, Antti & Virtanen, Mikko (2014). Keeping Systems at Work: Electricity Infrastructure from Control Rooms to Household PracticesScience & Technology Studies 27 (2): 93-114.

Silvast, Antti; Hänninen, Hannu & Hyysalo, Sampsa (2013). Energy in Society: Energy Systems and Infrastructures in SocietyScience & Technology Studies 26 (3): 3-13.

Silvast, Antti & Kelman, Ilan (2013). Is the Normal Accidents Perspective Falsifiable? Disaster Prevention and Management 22 (1): 7-16.

Silvast, Antti (2011). Monitor Screens of Market Risks: Managing Electricity in a Finnish Control RoomSTS Encounters 4 (2): 145-174.

Book chapters

Silvast, Antti; Jalas, Mikko & Rinkinen, Jenny (2017). Energy Governance, Risk, and Temporality: The Construction of Energy Time through Law and Regulation. In Beynon-Jones, Siân & Grabham, Emily (eds) Regulating Time. Forthcoming collected volume by Routledge.

Silvast, Antti (2014). The Protection of the Banking System as a Critical Societal Infrastructure. In Petropolous, Nicholas & Tsobanoglou, George (eds): The Debt Crisis in the Eurozone (EZ): Social Impacts. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 459-480.

Book reviews

Silvast, Antti (2013). Ilmastotieteen suuri koneisto [The Vast Machine of Climate Science]. Review of the book Edwards, Paul N. (2010): A Vast Machine: Computers Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 552 pages. Tekniikan Waiheita [Journal of the Finnish Society for the History of Technology] 31 (4): 75-77.

Silvast, Antti (2010). Etnografian tutkimuskäytäntöjä [Ethnography’s Research Practices]. Review of the book Giampietro, Gobo (2008): Doing Ethnography. SAGE Publications, London, 355 pages. Sosiologia [Journal for Finnish Sociology] 47 (4): 312-313.

Manuscripts in submission

Karlstrøm, Henrik; Throndsen, William & Silvast, Antti. Indirect economisation

Silvast, Antti. Unbundling Networks/Segmenting Risks: Enacting Markets and Security in Urban Electricity Control Rooms. Submitted to Luque-Ayala, Andres & Marvin, Simon (eds) Control Room: Nodes in the Networked City. Collected volume under review by Routledge.

Silvast, Antti. Co-constituting Supply and Demand: Managing Electricity in Two Neighbouring Control Rooms. Submitted to Shove, Elizabeth & Trentmann, Frank (eds) Infrastructures in Practice: The Evolution of Demand in Networked Societies. Collected volume.

Bolton, Ronan; Lagendijk, Vincent & Silvast, Antti.  Grand Visions and Pragmatic Integration: Exploring Historical Continuities in the Creation and Evolution of Europe’s Electricity Market. 

Manuscripts in preparation

Silvast, Antti. Normal Accidents vs. High Reliability: The Emergence and Non-Emergence of Low-Probability, High-Consequence Risks in the Finnish Electricity System.

Silvast, Antti. “City Infrastructures”, “Country-side Infrastructures”, and Their Problems: The Social Construction of Finnish Electricity Reliability Statistics, 1984-2017.

Silvast, Antti & Virtanen, Mikko. Assemblages of Framings and Tamings - Multi-sited Analysis of Infrastructures as a Methodology.

Silvast, Antti; Bolton, Ronan; Winskel, Mark & Schimmel, Matthias. Making Energy Security: A Socio-Technical Systems Perspective on Europe's Internal Electricity Market. 

Winskel, Mark & Silvast, Antti. Energy Systems, National Identities and Technology Styles: Contested Infrastructure Transitions in Scotland and the UK. For a special theme issue in Energy Research & Social Science

Pedak, Maarit; Laaksonen, Salla-Maria; Hakala, Salli; Tikka, Minttu & Silvast, Antti. Small Leak or Significant Release? An Ethnographic Study of Sensemaking in a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Exercise.  

Web-based publications and reports

Silvast, Antti (2017). Risk Adjustment In Transactional Grids. Faraday Grid article, 20 August 2017. 

Bolton, Ronan; Silvast, Antti & Winskel, Mark (2016). The Implications of Brexit for Energy Policy. The Centre on Constitutional Change, 19 July 2016.

Bolton, Ronan; Silvast, Antti & Winskel, Mark (2016). The Implications of Brexit for Energy Policy. Bulletin of the Scottish ClimateXChange, 6 July 2016.

Silvast, Antti (2016). Knowing Economies, Doing Economies: How Sociologists of Markets Have Acknowledged the Legacy of #Pragmatism. Allegra Lab: Anthropology, Law, Art & World, 1 March 2016.

Silvast, Antti (2015). The EU's Energy Union: Solidarity amid Dissensus? European Futures, Edinburgh Europa Institute, 24 September 2015. 

Silvast, Antti & Kaplinsky, Joe (2007). White Paper on Security of European Electricity Distribution. European Union funded Pan-European training program for electricity transmission security management, 63 pages.

Education

2013
PhD
University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research

2008
doctoral candidate
Aalto University School of Science, Systems Analysis Laboratory
Thesis title: Efficiency Analyses of University Research Groups

2007
MSocSc
University of Helsinki, Department of Sociology

1997
student of technology
Helsinki University of Technology, engineering physics

Employment

2015-2018
Research Fellow
The University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science
Science, Technology and Innovation Studies

2014-2015
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Princeton University, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies

Selected conference activities

Panels organized

Critical Infrastructure Risks and Emergent Responses. 13th European Sociological Association Conference, Athens, Greece, 29 August – 1 September 2017. 

Modeling Uncertainties, Producing Differences. Semiplenary panel with the speakers Paul N. Edwards (Michigan) and Robin Williams (Edinburgh). 12th European Sociological Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 25-28 August 2015. (Together with Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen.)

Infrastructures of Preparedness: Conceptual Issues, Empirical Openings. 12th European Sociological Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 25-28 August 2015. (Together with Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen.)

Energy Resilience Politics. 12th European Sociological Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 25-28 August 2015. (Together with Barbara Lucini.)

Energy Debates and Public Discourses. Second Aalto Event on Science and Technology Studies: Energy in Society, Helsinki, Finland, 5-6 November 2012.

Papers presented

“Making Energy Security: A Socio-Technical Systems Perspective on Europe's Internal Electricity Market.” European Consortium for Political Research General Conference, University of Oslo, 6-9 September 2017. (Together with Ronan Bolton, Mark Winskel, and Matthias Schimmel.)

“Infrastructure Risk and Biography of Artefacts: Multiple Dynamics and Temporalities.” 13th European Sociological Association Conference, Athens, 29 August – 1 September 2017. (Together with Mikko J. Virtanen.)

“Understanding the European Energy Union: a Single Concept for Many Systems.” The Academic Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES) 46th Annual Conference, Queen Mary University of London, 5-7 September 2016. (Together with Ronan Bolton and Mark Winskel.)

“Infrastructure Risk and Biography of Artefacts: Multiple Dynamics and Temporalities.” T132: Beyond the single-site study: the Biography of Artefacts and Practices. Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) conference, Barcelona, 31 August - 3 September 2016.

“Understanding the European Energy Union: a Single Concept for Many Systems.” 39th International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) Conference, Bergen, Norway, 19-22 June 2016. (Together with Ronan Bolton and Mark Winskel.)

“Co-constituting Supply and Demand: Managing Electricity in Two Neighbouring Control Rooms.” Electrifying Anthropology, Durham Energy Institute and Department of Anthropology at Durham University with the IT University of Copenhagen, Durham, UK, 14-16 March 2016.

“Security and Risk in a Liberalized Electricity Infrastructure: Does Competition Compromise Resilience?” 12th European Sociological Association Conference, Prague, Czech Republic, 25-28 August 2015.

“Normal Accidents vs. High Reliability: The Emergence and Non-Emergence of Low-Probability, High-Consequence Risks in Electricity Supply.” Global Systemic Risk Luncheon Presentation, Princeton University, NJ, US, 9-12-2014.

“Two Kinds of Risk: Enacting Markets and Security in Neighboring Electricity Control Rooms.” Nordic Worlds: Energy & Environment, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, US, 19-11-2014.

“Small Leak or Significant Release? An Ethnographic Study of Sensemaking in a Nuclear Power Plant Emergency Exercise.” EGOS2014 Colloquium, 3-5 July 2014, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. (With Maarit Pedak, Salla-Maria Laaksonen, Salli Hakala & Minttu Tikka.)

“Managing Insecurity: Risk Technologies and the Looping Effects of Welfare Production”, 11th European Sociological Association Conference, Turin, Italy, 28-8 -31-8-2013 (Together with Turo-Kimmo Lehtonen, Mikko Jauho, and Jyri Liukko.)

“National Security Threat and Its Measurement: Protecting Society’s Vital Energy Infrastructures in Finland”, The Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) Annual Congress, Ankara, Turkey, 11-7 – 15-7-2012.

“Lay People, Experts and Electricity Blackouts: Everyday Habits as Risk Response”, Energy & Society Conference, Institute of Social Sciences (ICS-UL), Lisbon, Portugal, 22-3– 24-3-2012.

Teaching experience

University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences

Guest Lecturer, Energy and Society I: Key themes and issues (Autumn 2017)

University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science

Guest Lecturer, Energy Policy and Politics (Spring 2016)

University of Helsinki, Open University

Guest Lecturer and Exercises (Finnish), Kriisiviestintä ja -johtaminen [Crisis Communication and Leadership] (Spring 2014)

University of Helsinki, Department of Social Research

Guest Lecturer (Finnish), Teknologia, ympäristö, yhteiskunta [Technology, Environment, Society] (Spring 2014)

Seminar Co-Coordinator (English), Reflexive Interviewing (Autumn 2013, Spring 2012)

Seminar Co-Coordinator (Finnish), Käytäntöjen analytiikkaa [The Analytics of Practices] (Spring 2011)

Seminar Coordinator, Guest Lecturer, Exercises (Finnish), Sosiaalitutkimuksen kvalitatiiviset menetelmät [The Qualitative Methods of Social Research] (Autumn 2010, Spring 2010, Autumn 2009)

Guest Lecturer (Finnish), Energiapolitiikka, media ja markkinat [Energy Politics, Media, and Markets] (Spring 2009)

Guest Lecturer (Finnish), Ajankohtaisia teemoja tieteen- ja teknologian tutkimuksessa [Current Themes in Science and Technology Studies] (Spring 2009)

Guest Lecturer (Finnish), Teoria, tutkimus ja teoreettinen tutkimus [Theory, Research, and Theoretical Research] (Spring 2009)

Topics interested in supervising

I am interested in co-supervising topics broadly related to energy, infrastructure, and Science and Technology Studies. Example project ideas linked to my ongoing research include vulnerabilities and risks in energy infrastructure, social studies of energy markets, ethnographies of energy systems, studies of 'smart' grids and meters, energy organisation studies, and new openings in socio-technical transitions.