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Black hands, green jobs: unpacking decarbonization through green labour [Energy Anthropology Network (EAN)] [Anthropology of Economy Network (AoE)] 
Theodora Vetta (Universitat de Barcelona)
Rune Bennike (University of Southern Denmark)
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Jessica M. Smith (Colorado School of Mines)
Tuesday 23 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This panel unpacks “green jobs” in decarbonizing regions. We invite papers addressing “reskilling” processes and concrete working experiences in energy restructuring, with a particular focus on gendered and racialized labour.

Long Abstract:

What are green jobs? The eco-modernist narratives of the current energy “transition” tell us that–if we decarbonize the global economy–we will eventually end up not only with a greener world but with an estimated gross gain of 26 million jobs (ILO 2019). Indeed, green employment seems to be on the rise, with 13.7 million workers registered in the renewable sector alone in 2022 (IENA 2023). Yet, besides purely quantitative approaches and wishful worries about “decent jobs,” and a “Just Labor Transition,” we still lack thick ethnographic data on the greening of the global division of labor. Having a particular focus on decarbonization regions, but covering the whole value chain from prime material extraction (biofuel, minerals…) to manufacturing, planning, finance, construction, operation, and maintenance, we seek to address three main questions:

1) What are the lived realities of the “re/up-skilling” processes, promising the transformation of black to green jobs? How are transitional development programs and funding schemes grounded? Which “skills” are valued and which are not?

2) How is “sustainability” translated into concrete working experiences within the heavily financialised energy markets? What are the processes of unity and fragmentation in the making of this segment of the working class?

3) What are the gender aspects of such transformations and how do they fit the mainstream gender agenda of decarbonization policies? Can we talk about green labor instead of jobs in order to account for the unpaid gendered and racialized green labors in different temporal/spatial reconfigurations of the energy restructuring?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -