Anth35
'We need electricity today': narratives and practices of electrical connections and outages in Africa

Convenors:
Moïse Williams Pokam Kamdem (University of Dschang)
Marius De Batchouo Moifo Fonkou (University of Dschang )
Stream:
Social Anthropology
Location:
Appleton Tower, Lecture Theatre 1
Session slots:
1
Wednesday 12 June, 8:45 - 10:30

Short abstract:

This panel aims at examining narratives and practices related to the need for electricity in Africa. The issue is to determine how populations react to their connection or not to electrical grids and to the disruptions of these infrastructures, through expressions of wonderment or disillusionment.

Long abstract:

This panel aims at examining narratives and practices related to the need for electricity in African countries. Our proposal is based on two observations that intersect. First, for a long ago, there is a popular craze and an economic necessity to access this vector of modern energy across the continent. Secondly, the frustrations of communities and enterprises are increasing due to the poor quality of electricity utilities and frequent outages in this part of the World. In both cases, expressions of people's wonder or disillusion with regard to access to electrical grids would be interesting to analyse from a social perspective, but also by combining past and present experiences since the colonial period. This need for electricity is reflected as well by euphoria as by electric riots like witnessed few years ago in Algeria, Senegal, Guinea and Cameroon for instance. The issue is therefore in this panel to determine how populations react to their connection or not to local, regional or national electrical grids, as well as to the disruptions in the distribution of electricity. Several aspects can be discussed, including the context, the discourses and the practices that underlie these expressions of euphoria or anger, the organization of the movements that carry these claims and the way in which they are handled by authorities in charge of it. Thereby, communications in all social sciences and humanities and preferably based on field surveys are welcome.