Social Anthropology
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To find a market for a battery: ethnographies of encounter and Japanese corporate frontiers in rural Bangladesh

Title
To find a market for a battery: ethnographies of encounter and Japanese corporate frontiers in rural Bangladesh
Speaker(s)
Speaker: Dr Juli Huang # University of Edinburgh
Hosted by
Introduced by
Date and Time
3rd Nov 2017 15:00 - 3rd Nov 2017 17:00
Location
Seminar Room 2, Chrsytal Macmillan Building
URL
http://www.san.ed.ac.uk/events/research_seminars/2017_2018/to_find_a_market_for_a_battery_ethnographies_of_encounter_and_japanese_corporate_frontiers_in_rural_bangladesh

Eleven Japanese corporate executives and ten Bangladeshi village-based entrepreneurs stand around an array of gleaming solar panels perched precariously on piles of bricks and hay. Despite being labeled a “social enterprise” and a “bottom-of-the-pyramid” (BOP) project, this solar-energy initiative emerged neither from development planning nor from a company’s market strategy. Instead, the project emerged from a chaotic series of events and the Japanese state’s decentralized patronage politics that drew together a wide array of non-state actors in a haphazard initiative in Bangladesh. Engaging with the “ethnographies of encounter” agenda (Faier and Rofel 2014) helps to tease apart the diverse factors that produced a solar social-enterprise pilot project, which did not arise from a plan for a social enterprise. What emerges is a diffuse understanding of project agency and a backward-rationalized analysis of “planning” that accounts for human and non-human forces, multiple and divergent accounts, and the unequal material politics that characterize these encounters across difference.