Energizing gender: how does introduction of new energy sources influence practices, relationships and ideologies related to gender-roles
(International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen)
Paper short abstract:
The impact of environmental change on the gender relations is examined through the prism of the introduction of ‘new energies’. While presuming a general positive change of empowerment of women, the actual ethnographic case studies suggest rather a complex array of appropriation strategies.
Paper long abstract:
This proposed paper will bring a theoretical input while comparing transformation of local livelihoods in relation to new energy-related practices. An attempt to bridge the gap between the 'very poor' and 'rich' countries together with the current environmental change call for newer (sustainable) energy sources to be introduced in different parts of the world. Findings on this topic, however, are full of contradictions: developmental agencies report 'empowering' of women, where as some ethnographic portraits report deeper loss of power in the relationships. Others illustrate different examples where women willingly reject new energy sources altogether. So where does 'the truth' lie? While employing the method of ethnographic comparison, I will be investigating such introduction of 'new' energy into societies, and connected with that people's need to reflect and incorporate the changing technology and availability of energy into everyday practices, hierarchies, and power struggles. This research is not looking at energy from the global, geopolitical, climate-changing agenda. Rather, an anthropological prism allows for micro-view of local people's perceptions, or what I call 'cultural translation' of energy. My paper will offer a framework for looking at energy as a perspective of accessing changing cultural meanings of social practices (and with that relationships and ideologies) related to gender.
Gender and environmental change. Taking stock and looking into the future