Impact of Electricity Cuts on the Way of Life

Breakdown of critical infrastructure systems, such as electricity generation and distributing systems, in modern societies can lead to economic expensive and socially catastrophic consequences. Pakistanis have been suffering from unscheduled and prolonged load shedding consistently for the past 7-8 years. This is an example of breakdown of a critical infrastructure that has changed the dynamics of living in Pakistan.  In summers, when the temperatures hit 48 degrees Celsius, it becomes unbearable to survive the heat without any fans or air conditioners. This situation has prompted me to start a new research using the theoretical framework of “Infrastructure Inversion” to study the impact of infrastructure failure on the societal living and practices in Pakistani urban households which are considered a modern digitally networked society. My research is using the framework of Star and Bowker (1999), who have presented an approach to studying the use of infrastructures by examining people’s every day practices and the networks within which they are embedded. Their approach helps achieve a deeper understanding of the struggle people do to make the visible broken infrastructure invisible. The studied practices represent cultural, political, technical, and scientific artefacts that are developed or adopted by the members of a society as a result of  adjustments made in the use of infrastructure when it breaks down and create redundant infrastructures. I have completed the first phase of my research by gathering qualitative data through ethnographically inspired observations and semi-structured interviews. Now I’ve been analysing the data and preparing for the follow up field work. The analysis of the data bringing up very interesting and insightful findings consisting of tales of practices adopted by the study’s participants as result  of electricity infrastructure failure. I’m hoping to share the initial findings through these pages in a few weeks time. I’m also quite keen to seek collaboration from researchers interested in collaborating for data analysis and carrying out further research in Pakistan or countries facing electricity shortage problems such as India or Africa.

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This entry was posted in Blackouts, Electricity, Energy, Loadshedding, Pakistan, Sustainability, Utilities. Bookmark the permalink.

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