In ‘Rhythmanalysis’ ([1992] 2004) Lefebvre provides a provocative and lyrical account of ‘a new science, a new field of knowledge: the analysis of rhythms with practical consequences’.

While work that has followed has taken the analysis of rhythms in different directions and into different settings there has been little attention paid to how energy figures in Lefebvre’s expansive theorisation of rhythm, extending across scales from the cosmological to the corporeal.

Energy for Lefebvre is intrinsic to rhythm, ‘everywhere where there is interaction between a place, a time and an expenditure of energy there is rhythm’.

In this talk, our guest from Lancaster University, Professor Gordon Walker will outline the key ambitions of ongoing writing which explores how to energise rhythmanalysis and apply a rhythmic ontology to conceptualising both how energy flows permeate the world and how energy systems (supply through to end uses) make rhythms and manage polyrhythmic interrelationships.

The energetic-thermal load bearing down on bodily rhythms in extreme heat conditions and the ongoing need to hold the electricity grid ‘in balance’, to manage peak load provide examples among many others of how urgent energy and climate challenges can be approached in rhythmanalytic terms.

About the speaker

Gordon Walker is Professor at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, UK. He has a wide ranging profile of research on the social and spatial dimensions of environment, energy and sustainability issues. This includes work on environmental and energy justice; rhythmanalysis; social practice, sociotechnical transitions and energy demand; community innovation and renewable energy technologies; and concepts of vulnerability, resilience and governance in relation to forms of ‘natural’ and technological risk. He was until recently Co-Director of the Dynamics of Mobility, Energy and Demand Centre (DEMAND). Recent books include the co-edited ‘Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice’ and ‘Demanding Energy: Space, Time and Change’(Palgrave) and he is working on the provisionally titled ‘Energy Rhythms: low carbon futures in a polyrhythmic world’ to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2020.


RMIT University Building 80, Level 3, Room 15, Swanston Academic Building (Building 80), RMIT University, 445 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000


2 December 2019