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Accepted paper:

Bio-Social Materialities in Energy Livelihoods

Author:

Ben Campbell (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper redeploys the domestic domain for research into renewable energy transition, in particular cooking energy materialities, advocating a holistic contextualisation of the relation between cooking fuel practices and energy processes integrally connected to domestic reproduction of livelihoods

Paper long abstract:

There is a fertile fringe in the knowledge interface between Anthropology and Geography that shares common concerns in methodologies for understanding rudimentary human processes in the generation of social life. 'The domestic domain' has been the locus of numerous analytical and interpretive paradigms. These have ranged from the exogamous imperative of the incest taboo as a bio-genetic strategy for social alliance (structuralism), and the training of capacity for reading class formation into the reproduction of inequality in differential holdings of human and non-human assets (political economy), through to the comparative recognition of humans' relations with creatures and ecologies as not 'Nature', but sentient actors (ontological turn). (Gender problematisation runs through all these paradigms exposing patriarchal misrecognition in each). This paper redeploys the domestic domain for new purposes of conducting research into renewable energy transition, using a framework of energy livelihoods, and attempts to maintain genealogical sight of previous paradigms. To highlight the problem, it is very rarely the case that any study of transition in cooking energy technologies presents a holistic contextualisation of the relation between cooking fuel practices and energy processes integrally connected to domestic reproduction of livelihoods. It is in the flows and ruptures experienced in bio-social materialities of human labour, interaction with domestic livestock, in meaningfully cultivated places on troubled soils, and in shared activity through gendered divisions of practice and power that the sense of accommodating new energy technologies and their affective life of communicative personhood will become visible as anthropological 'figure' to geographical 'ground'.

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Collaborations in Research on Low Carbon Energy