Electrifying Anthropology

Electrifying Anthropology. Exploring Electrical Practices and Infrastructures

Editor(s): Simone Abram, Brit Ross Winthereik, Thomas Yarrow

What kinds of expertise and knowledge relate to electricity, and where is the space for alternative voices? How can the new roles for electricity in social and cultural life be acknowledged? How can we speak about ‘it’ in its own right while acknowledging that electricity is not one thing?


This book re-describes electricity and its infrastructures using insights from anthropology and science and technology studies, raising fascinating questions about the contemporary world and its future. Through ethnographic studies of bulbs, bicycles, dams, power grids and much more, the contributors shed light on practices that are often overlooked, showing how electricity is enacted in multiple ways. Electrifying Anthropology moves beyond the idea of electricity as an immovable force, and instead offers a set of potential trajectories for thinking about electricity and its effects in contemporary society.

With new contributions on an emerging area of research, this timely collection will be of value to students and scholars of anthropology, science and technology studies, geography and engineering.

Table of contents

1. Current Thinking – An Introduction
Simone Abram, Durham University, UK, Brit Winthereik, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark & Tom Yarrow, Durham University, UK

2. Electricity is Not a Noun
Gretchen Bakke, McGill University, Canada

3. Widened Reason and Deepened Optimism: Electricity and Morality in Durkheim’s Anthropology and Our Own
Leo Coleman, Hunter College, USA

4. No Current: Electricity and Disconnection in Rural India
Jamie Cross, University of Edinburgh, UK

5. What the E-bike Tells Us About the Anthropology of Energy
Nathalie Ortar, CNRS, France

6. At the Edge of the Network of Power in Japan, c.1910s-1960s
Hiroki Shin, Birkbeck University London, UK

7. Can the Mekong Speak? On Hydropower, Models and Thing-Power
Casper Bruun Jensen, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark

8. Electrification and the Everyday Spaces of State Power in Postcolonial Mozambique
Joshua Kirshner, University of York, UK & Marcus Power, Durham University, UK

9. Big Grid: The Computing Beast that Preceded Big Data
Canay Özden-Schilling, MIT, USA

10. Touring the Nuclear Sublime: Power Plant Tours as Tools of Government
Tristan Loloum, Lausanne University, Switzerland

11. Afterword: Electricity as Inspiration – Towards Indeterminate Interventions
Sarah Pink, RMIT University, Australia

Energy transition: Does the mountain give birth to a mouse?

5th Energy and Society Conference

Pre-Call for Workshops

Theme: “Energy transition: Does the mountain give birth to a mouse?”

8-10 September 2020, University of Trento, Italy

The fifth Energy and Society Conference and midterm conference of the European Sociological Association Research Network 12 Environment and Society will take place in Trento, Italy, from 8th to 10th September 2020.  We aim to bring together researchers interested in the social dimensions of energy, to exchange insightful ideas and create opportunities for collaboration. We invite contributions from across the social sciences and interdisciplinary research teams working on energy and society issues. The conference is organized in cooperation with ESA RN 12, ISA RN 24, and the Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA).

With this pre-call we would like to invite proposals for workshops that will then be announced in the call for papers to be issued after the ESA conference 2019 in Manchester.

Workshops are meant to discuss a specific issue reflecting the conference theme, or the contribution of social analysis to energy research and policy. The discussion should be based on short inputs, and actively involve participants. Interactive formats are highly encouraged.

The usual call for abstracts as well as for contributions to the chosen workshops will be published in October 2019.

In your submission, please indicate the topic of the proposed workshop as well as the planned format of the workshop. Please indicate if you call for contributions from conference participants via abstracts (mentioning possible topics and formats). We will include this then in the cfp.

 Please send your proposals for workshops until the 15th of September to: energysociety[add]email.de (Pia Laborgne)

We are looking forward to many interesting contributions and fruitful exchange.

Contact for further questions:

Responsible for local organization: Natalia Magnani (University of Trento) natalia.magnani[add]unitn.it

If attending the ESA, you are invited to approach us there with your workshop ideas and questions (e.g. at the business meeting of RN 12).

Permanent associate professor in climate and energy transformation

A permanent position as associate professor of political science/public policy within climate and energy transformation in Bergen, Norway.

The position is with Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, and hosted by the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen. It requires a PhD in political science, public policy or other social sciences with relevance for the Department. Energy geographers who have sufficiently strong background in this realm may qualify.


Associate professor at the Department of Administration and Organization Theory within climate and energy transformation

We welcome you to apply for a full-time permanent tenured position as Associate Professor at the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen, within the field of climate and energy transformation. The Department of Administration and Organization Theory hosts the position, in collaboration with the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET). The position will contribute to strengthening research, education and project development at the Department and CET within climate and energy transformation, which is a priority area at the University of Bergen.

The Department of Administration and Organization Theory<https://www.uib.no/en/admorg> combines political science with an organizational approach to public policy, public administration, and political institutions.

The Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)<https://www.uib.no/en/cet> is an interdisciplinary research centre aiming at producing actionable knowledge about how to achieve deep, rapid and sustainable transformation of society to meet the climate challenge.

Applicants are advised to consult and make themselves familiar with the teaching and research profile of the department as well as CET. Please see: http://www.uib.no/admorgandhttps://www.uib.no/en/cet.

We seek a dedicated candidate with collaborative skills to engage in research, supervision and teaching at the Department and CET. Personal aptitude will be important for the position. Among the qualifications we seek are:


 *   A Ph.D. in political science, public administration or other social sciences, with relevance for the Department’s profile.
 *   A strong academic background and documented expertise within the profile of the Department and with a documented specialization within the field of climate change, energy transition and/or societal transformation. This implies a demonstrated ability to publish research at a high international level beyond the PhD dissertation.

Application deadline: 15 September, 2019. Please find more information about the position at Jobbnorge: https://bit.ly/2LwxOnO