Justice and politics in energy access for education, livelihoods and health: How socio-cultural processes mediate the winners and losers

Our team member Dr Ankit Kumar recently published a new open access article on the role placed by local socio-cultural processes in access to energy in the global South. This study also illustrates a need to engage in more in depth ethnographic work to grasp the nuances of energy access and impacts of energy access interventions.

Justice and politics in energy access for education, livelihoods and health: How socio-cultural processes mediate the winners and losers

Energy Research and Social Science, Volume 40, June 2018, Pages 3–13

Abstract
The rhetoric on development benefits of energy access often focuses on education, livelihoods and health. Using case studies of two energy access projects in India, this paper demonstrates that these claims, while true in part, are neither simple nor straightforward. It argues that pre-existing socio-cultural processes mediate the development outcomes of energy access projects. In particular, the roles of gender, socio-economic positions and the local economy are vital in understanding the links between education, livelihoods, health and energy.
This paper is important for two reasons. First, working with culture as a mediator, it provides nuanced insights into relationships between energy access and three key development goals. Second, by presenting this analysis, the paper identifies a need for further research on the relationships between socio-cultural processes, development and energy access and, how by keeping these processes in mind, the benefits of energy access could be extended to less privileged social groups. This paper is based on a nine-month long ethnographic research in five villages in India’s Bihar state. Home tours, interviews, participant observations and group discussions were used to collect the data.
Please read this in conjunction with his previous article on Cultures of Lights.

Link to open access article:

energy politics

Justice and Politics: With access to modern lighting the boy of the household gets to study while the girl has to cook on a hazardous and polluting wood fired earthen hearth

In Hindi / हिंदी में
शिक्षा, आजीविका और स्वास्थ्य के लिए ऊर्जा की पहुंच में न्याय और नीति: कैसे सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक परिक्रिआएं जीतने और हारने वालों की मध्यस्थता करती हैं 

ऊर्जा अनुसंधान और सामाजिक विज्ञान, खंड 40, जून 2018, पृष्ठ 3-13

सार
ऊर्जा और विकास के संबंध पर संवाद अक्सर शिक्षा, आजीविका और स्वास्थ्य पर केंद्रित होते हैं। भारत में दो ऊर्जा परियोजनाओं का अध्ययन करते हुए, यह पत्र दर्शाता है कि ये दावे, जबकि भाग में सत्य, न तो सरल और न ही सीधे हैं। इस पत्र का तर्क है कि पहले से मौजूद सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक प्रक्रियाएंऊर्जा परियोजनाओं के विकास के संबंधों की मध्यस्थता करती हैं। विशेष रूप से, शिक्षा, आजीविका, स्वास्थ्य और ऊर्जा के बीच संबंधों को समझने में लैंगिक भेदभाव, सामाजिक-आर्थिक स्थिति और स्थानीय अर्थव्यवस्था की भूमिका महत्वपूर्ण है।
यह पत्र दो कारणों के लिए महत्वपूर्ण है। सबसे पहले, संस्कृति की मध्यस्थता को दिमाग में रखते हुए, यह ऊर्जा की पहुंच और तीन प्रमुख विकास लक्ष्यों के बीच के संबंधों में सूक्ष्म अंतर्दृष्टि प्रदान करता है। दूसरा, इस विश्लेषण को प्रस्तुत करते हुए, ये पत्र सामाजिक-सांस्कृतिक प्रक्रियाओं, विकास और ऊर्जा की पहुंच के बीच के संबंधों, और इन प्रक्रियाओं को ध्यान में रखते हुए, ऊर्जा की पहुंच के लाभों को कमज़ोर सामाजिक समूहों तक पहुंचने के तरीकों पर और शोध की ज़रूरत को दर्शाता है।
यह पत्र भारत के बिहार राज्य के पांच गांवों में नौ महीने के नृवंशविज्ञान अनुसंधान पर आधारित है। आंकड़े इकट्ठा करने के लिए होम टूर, साक्षात्कार, प्रतिभागी अवलोकन और समूह चर्चाओं का इस्तेमाल किया गया था।

यह कृपया संस्कृति पर उनके पिछले लेख के साथ पढ़ें.

ओपन एक्सेस लेख के लिए लिंक:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629617304449 

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Stakholder involvement and the case of Hidden Design

The first output from our project was published yesterday. Dr. Auke Pols published a paper titled:

‘May Stakeholders be Involved in Design Without Informed Consent? The Case of Hidden Design’

The paper is open access. You can find it here http://rdcu.be/jVvs

Abstract

Stakeholder involvement in design is desirable from both a practical and an ethical point of view. It is difficult to do well, however, and some problems recur again and again, both of a practical nature, e.g. stakeholders acting strategically rather than openly, and of an ethical nature, e.g. power imbalances unduly affecting the outcome of the process. Hidden Design has been proposed as a method to deal with the practical problems of stakeholder involvement. It aims to do so by taking the observation of stakeholder actions, rather than the outcomes of a deliberative process, as its input. Furthermore, it hides from stakeholders the fact that a design process is taking place so that they will not behave differently than they otherwise would. Both aspects of Hidden Design have raised ethical worries. In this paper I make an ethical analysis of what it means for a design process to leave participants uninformed or deceived rather than acquiring their informed consent beforehand, and to use observation of actions rather than deliberation as input for design, using Hidden Design as a case study. This analysis is based on two sets of normative guidelines: the ethical guidelines for psychological research involving deception or uninformed participants from two professional psychological organisations, and Habermasian norms for a fair and just (deliberative) process. It supports the conclusion that stakeholder involvement in design organised in this way can be ethically acceptable, though under a number of conditions and constraints.