Electric Light and Electricity

Cubitt, Sean. 2013. Electric Light and Electricity. Theory, Culture and Society, 30(7-8), pp. 1-16. ISSN 0263-2764 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper argues that cultural analyses of electric light, including aspects of actor-network theory, may raise the spectre of complexity, but do not do it justice when they omit to provide analysis of the intertwined roles of culture and political economy in the formation of the provision and use of electric light. The essay looks at the marketization of electric power, at outages in the eastern and western US megacities, at the collapse of the public utility model and chaotic implementation of market models in Mumbai, Lagos and other poor megacities, and concludes that while theft of power provides a temporary solution, abandoning centralized market models in favour of microgrids is the only sure way to return agency to slum dwellers.

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Published 8 October 2013 on TCS Online First http://tcs.sagepub.com/content/early/recent
Hardcopy publication December 2013

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Research Office > REF2014


December 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

02 Sep 2013 12:27

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2017 13:53

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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