Kirsten Nielsen

Access to electricity is currently extending to rural areas in the global south. This extension is motivated by a belief within the development world that access to electricity enhances human development for the world’s poorest in a variety of ways. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Gulu district in northern Uganda, my project explores the processes and impacts of electrification in relation to human development and sustainability in previously unsupplied areas from a critical point of view. I will carry out fieldwork in households, ‘trading centers’, schools, and health clinics as these all constitute scenes where access to electricity is likely to have profound material and social impact. At such scenes, I will examine the interplay between people and electricity; how do people appropriate, conceptualize, and use electricity, and how does electricity in turn change people’s lives? My approach is thus twofold focusing both on how electricity influences everyday practice and social organization as well as how people exert control over this newly arrived technology.