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Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies


Cultures of Energy: Power, Practices, Technologies Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This path-breaking volume explores cultures of energy, the underlying but under-appreciated dimensions of both crisis and innovation in resource use around the globe. Theoretical chapters situate pressing energy issues in larger conceptual frames, and ethnographic case studies reveal energy as it is imagined, used, and contested in a variety of cultural contexts. Contributors address issues including the connection between resource flows and social relationships in energy systems; cultural transformation and notions of progress and collapse; the blurring of technology and magic; social tensions that accompany energy contraction; and sociocultural changes required in affluent societies to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Each of five thematic sections concludes with an integrative and provocative conversation among the authors. The volume is an ideal tool for teaching unique, contemporary, and comparative perspectives on social theories of science and technology in undergraduate and graduate courses.


This path-breaking, comparative volume explores cultures of energy, the underlying but under-appreciated dimensions of both crisis and innovation in resource use around the globe.

About the Author

Sarah Strauss (Ph.D. 1997, University of Pennsylvania; M.P.H., 1987, San Jose State University) is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming. She has conducted historical research and ethnographic fieldwork in India, Switzerland, and the US Rocky Mountain region on the intersections between health, environment, and the “good life,” however defined, and has been engaged in research on water, climate change, and energy issues since 1993. She is the editor, with Ben Orlove, of the groundbreaking volume Weather, Climate, Culture (Oxford: Berg 2003) as well author of Positioning Yoga (Oxford: Berg 2004).

Stephanie Rupp (Ph.D. 2001, Yale University) is assistant professor of anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York. She comes to the field of energy anthropology having conducted in-depth, ethnographic research in the Congo River basin, where forest communities were actively questioning technologies such as electricity, radios, the internet, and satellites—technologies that they had become aware of, but realized they had no access to. Dr. Rupp has conducted work on environmental issues of forest conservation in the Congo River basin, relations between African nations and China as they focus on resource extraction, and is currently undertaking anthropological research and writing on energy. She is the author of Forests of Belonging: Identities, Ethnicities, and Stereotypes in the Congo River Basin (University of Washington Press, 2011).

Thomas Love (Ph.D. 1983 University of California, Davis) is professor of anthropology and environmental studies at Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon, where he has taught since 1983. He is actively engaged in energy issues, including organizing several recent conference sessions on cultural implications of the peaking of world oil production and ethnographic research on rural electrification using small-scale renewable technologies. He has published on a variety of topics related to human ecology in such scholarly journals as American Ethnologist, Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment, Human Ecology Review, and the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. He is co-editor with B.S. Orlove, B.S. and M. Foley, of State, Capital and Rural Society: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Economy in Mexico and the Andes (Westview, 1989).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cultures of Energy, Sarah Strauss, Stephanie Rupp, and Thomas LovePart I: Energy in Global and Theoretical PerspectivesChapter 1: Energy Consumption as Cultural Practice, Harold WilhiteChapter 2: After Peak Oil, Alf HornborgIn Conversation: Theorizing Energy and Culture, Harold Wilhite, Stephen Gudeman, and Alf HornborgPart II: Technology, Meaning, CosmologyChapter 3: Considering Energy: Meanings and Metaphors in New York City, Stephanie RuppChapter 4: Multinational Resoures: Plural Ontologies and Political Ecologies in Central Alaskan Energy Development, Chelsea ChapmanChapter 5: The Raw and the Cooked, Redux: Energy Development Mythology in Southeastern Wyoming, Sarah Strauss and Devon ReeserChapter 6: Cartel Consciousness and Horizontal Integration in Energy Industry, Arthur MasonIn Conversation: Energy, Technology, Cosmology, Stephanie Rupp, Chelsea Chapman, Sarah Strauss, Devon Reeser, Arthur MasonPart III: Electrification, TransformationChapter 7: Electrifying Transitions: Power and Culture in Cajamarca, Peru, Thomas Love and Anna GarwoodChapter 8: Space, Time, and Socio-material Relationships: Moral Aspects of the Arrival of Electricity in Rural Zanzibari Homes, Tanja WintherChapter 9: Ethics and Energy in Postcolonial Tanzania, Michael DeganiIn Conversation: Energy, Electricity, Cultural Transformations, Thomas Love, Anna Garwood, Tanja Winther, Michael DeganiPart IV: Energy Contested: Local/Global Tensions, Culture, PowerChapter 10: Natural Gas Extraction, Water Quality and the Internalized Ecology of Fracking, Elizabeth CartwrightChapter 11: Specters of Syndromes and Everyday Lives of Wyoming Energy Workers, Jessica Smith RolstonChapter 12: The “Serious Game” of Selling Green Energy in Brazil, Derek NewberryChapter 13: Local Power: Harnessing NIMBYism for Sustainable Energy Production and Distribution, Scott VandeheyIn Conversation: Local/Global Tensions, Culture, Power, Boundaries, Elizabeth Cartwright, Jessica Smith Rolston, Derek Newberry, Scott VandeheyPart V: Energy, Boundaries, PoliticsChapter 14: Reconsidering the Curse of Oil: Between the Material and the Imagined, Gisa WeszkalnysChapter 15: Energy Politics on the “Other” US/Mexico Border, Lisa BregliaChapter 16, Beyond the Horizon: Oil and Gas along the Gulf of Mexico, Diane Austin and Tom McGuireIn Conversation: Energy, Boundaries, Politics, Gisa Weszkalnys, Lisa Breglia, Diane Austin, Tom McGuireAfterword, Laura NaderIndex

Product Details

Strauss, Sarah
Left Coast Press
Rupp, Stephanie
nie Rupp
Love, Thomas
Anthropology - Cultural
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
2 illustrations, notes, references, inde
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » US History » Social and Economic History
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Energy » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Alternative Energy
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

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Product details 360 pages Left Coast Press - English 9781611321661 Reviews:
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This path-breaking, comparative volume explores cultures of energy, the underlying but under-appreciated dimensions of both crisis and innovation in resource use around the globe.
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