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Ethnographies of Power: A Political Anthropology of Energy

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Volume 42

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Ethnographies of Power

A Political Anthropology of Energy

Edited by Tristan Loloum, Simone Abram and Nathalie Ortar

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB Made available under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

212 pages, 15 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-979-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (April 2021)

ISBN  978-1-80073-935-2 $19.95/£15.95 / Pb / Published (June 2023)

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“Together, the chapters demonstrate that ‘[e]nergy, is at once, personal, collective and political, an experienced reality and a total social fact’, as Leo Coleman puts it in a brilliant Afterword. Ethnographies of Power is a timely and welcome addition to the growing corpus on energy in the social sciences. It will be of interest to students and scholars in anthropology, science and technology studies, and energy studies.” • Anthropos

“The volume raises important questions as to what new economic disciplines are being cultivated in the name of energy security or climatological necessity and those regions and peoples who are sacrificed in the pursuit of ‘clean’ energy production. Usefully, all the chapters are available through Berghahn’s Open Access collection, and the discussions here would be useful to those interested in the study of energy and society, infrastructure, speculation and the state.” • Anthropology Book Forum

“The strengths of the collection lie primarily in the papers’ rich ethnographic examination of the everyday politics engendered by state-initiated and/or directed energy flows and extractions – on existing, typically rural practices with their own temporality and logics.” • Thomas F. Love, Linfield College


Energy related infrastructures are crucial to political organization. They shape the contours of states and international bodies, as well as corporations and communities, framing their material existence and their fears and idealisations of the future. Ethnographies of Power brings together ethnographic studies of contemporary entanglements of energy and political power. Revisiting classic anthropological notions of power, it asks how changing energy related infrastructures are implicated in the consolidation, extension or subversion of contemporary political regimes and discovers what they tell us about politics today.

Tristan Loloum is Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, HES-SO Valais-Wallis. His research on energy and society explores the role of culture and politics on the public understanding of power infrastructure and climate change.

Simone Abram is Professor of Anthropology at Durham University and co-director of the Durham Energy Institute. She directs the innovative interdisciplinary MSc in Energy and Society at Durham University, and from 2016 until 2021 she is a co-investigator at the UK National Centre for Energy Systems Integration.

Nathalie Ortar is a senior researcher in anthropology at the ENTPE. Her research interests focus on the meaning of dwelling as well as on the consequences of energy transition in daily life and its moral and symbolic implications.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Political and Economic AnthropologyEnvironmental Studies (General)

Ethnographies of Power Edited by Tristan Loloum, Simone Abram and Nathalie Ortar is available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Full Text PDF | Full Text ePUB

OA ISBN: 978-1-80073-038-0


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