Caring Through Electricity | (Pakistan) Quirin Rieder

Caring Through Electricity

This PhD project researches the role of access to electric energy for the constitution of subjectivities and social organisation. Tracing social relations along access to infrastructure, I argue, reveals negotiations over who provides and ‘cares’ for whom, and for which reasons. Every actor involved in the production, distribution, and use of basic services necessarily engages in an interplay around notions of belonging, responsibility, and deservingness. Electricity, being the basis for an increasing number of everyday activities for people all over the world, plays an exceptional role here. I investigate how infrastructural practices of caring through electricity shape social organisation and subjectivities, understood as structured feelings and perceptions that drive action, while being product of wider circumstances. These practices are particularly visible in situations where there is a multiplicity of infrastructural providers, as in my proposed field site for long-term ethnographic research in northern Pakistan.

Quirin Rieder

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