Contentious connections : infrastructure, dignity and collective life in Accra, Ghana
MetadataShow full item record
Infrastructural systems have emerged as productive ethnographic sites for analysing political subjectivities and rationalities. Through the case of shared electricity and prepaid meters in the compound housing system of Accra, Ghana, I suggest that infrastructures’ political potential lies in their imaginative and hermeneutic abilities to foster desires for dignity, sustain wellbeing, and question moral ideals of collective life. In contrast to recent anthropological work that has emphasized the material basis of infrastructures as “techno-political” devices materializing certain logics of rule and governance, I reclaim a poetics of sociality through which infrastructures mobilize a politics of (unwanted) collective life. Through the “electricity stories” circulated by tenants, I chart the ways in which the moral economy of infrastructure in a context of collective precarity redistributes marginalization and freedom in ways that always exceed, if sometimes coinciding with, political rationales of energy reforms and policies.
Destree , P 2022 , ' Contentious connections : infrastructure, dignity and collective life in Accra, Ghana ' , Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute , vol. 28 , no. 1 , pp. 92-113 . https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13654
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Anthropological Institute. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionThe research for this article was supported by an AHRC/LAHP doctoral studentship and funding from the Energy Ethics ERC Project (715146).
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.