Go back to article: Getting to grips with energy: fuel, materiality and daily life

Material politics

Together, these layers expand our view of the material politics of energy in many fresh and exciting directions. Material politics encompasses the ramifications of infrastructures and objects on political action, structures and expectations – from the empowering and disciplining capacity of states and other organisations to the potential for resistance and association among the users of power. Traditionally, the politics that attracted most attention here was that of utilities and networks – their legal establishment, regulation, nationalisation and privatisation – and of fiscal and other policies affecting generating capacities and supply. To these the layers of material culture add a host of subjects and problems: the politics of changing and setting new norms; the relationship between energy users and infrastructure providers; the political landscapes of energy which brought power to some communities but not others and promoted some energy-hungry practices but not others; the cultural politics of fuels and their meaning for national and group identities; and the space assigned to energy use and energy users in policies, forecasts and planning.

Component DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15180/180901/006