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Social Anthropology: Research


Not Just Energy Futures

SEPTEMBER 2018 / Petrocultures2018, Glasgow
Dark Green: Transitions on the Spectrum

JUNE 2018 / Dark Green: Energy Dystopias After Oil
dark green
This 2-day micro-residency created a novel space for collaboration between 5 Scottish artists and the Not Just Energy Futures Research Group. Over 2 days the micro-residency developed a number of installations, digital artworks and sculpture that commented on unexamined relations of history, power, excess and waste that are being produced by alternative energy technologies and the pursuit of clean, green futures. The micro-residency culminated in a pop-up exhibition at the Dovecot studios, Edinburgh. Participating artists included Hannah Imlach, Rebecca Gill, Natalia Bezerra, Alan Brown.       

MAY 2018 / Capitalising on the Sun
This 2-day international symposium brough together researchers from academia, international organisations and campaign groups to address the social and environmental consequences of growth in global demand for solar power. Speakers presented critical perspectives from across the solar economy, addressing issues around mining and mineral extraction, land acquisition for utility scale solar projects, work and labour conditions in global supply chains and electronic waste. Keynote speakers included Dustin Mulvaney (San Jose State University), Sheila Davis (Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition) and Komali Yenneti (University of New South Wales). The event also saw the launch of Bettter Solar a platform for news, advocay and research. 

The Not Just Energy Futures Research Group

Because there is nothing necessarily just about our energy futures. And because our energy futures are never only about energy. 

Not Just Energy Futures is a group of social science researchers and faculty members at the University of Edinburgh who are united by a common interest in the lived experiences of low-carbon energy futures in what is sometimes called  the 'global south'. Our research spans locations across South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America. Together, we pay close attention to improvised practices and life projects that are spurred by, and intertwine with, the deployment of renewable energy infrastructures, technologies and devices.

There is nothing inevitably equitable or more democratic about our low carbon future. The pursuit of energy security, efficiency and sustainability is creating new speculative investments, new pressures on land and natural resources, new forms of business, new pressures on producers, new kinds of consumers and new forms of data. 

Neither is the low carbon future only about energy. Our concerns include the environmental consequences of increased demand for plastics and metals, chemicals and microelectronics in renewable energy systems, new forms of labour in global supply chains; the eco-logics of land acquisition for energy projects; the politics of big data from renewable energy systems; and transformations in social and cultural practices, as well as forms of social and political organisation. 

For more information or if you would like to join the group, please contact Jamie Cross.

Social Media

  • #notjustenergyfutures, #darkgreen
  • Follow us on Instagram

Doctoral Researchers

  • Declan Murray, Solar Waste: Energy, Recycling and Value in East Africa (International Development PhD Programme)
  • Kirsten Campbell, Gender, Social Transformation and Solar Microgrids in India (International Development PhD Programme, Writing Up)
  • Kamya Choudhary, Pumping Politics: Solar Powered Irrigation and Social Transformation in Rural India (International Development PhD Programme, Writing Up)
  • Kristin Fedeler, Hydro-electric Infrastructures and Ethiopia's Grand Renassance Dam (International Development PhD Programme, currently on fieldwork)
  • Silvia Pergetti, Charged: Imagined Futures and Distributed Generation in the Sundarbans, India (Social Anthropology PhD Programme, Writing Up)
  • Rishabh Raghavan, Energy Theives: Police and Policing of Electricity in Tamil Nadu, India (Social Anthropology PhD Programme, Writing Up)
  • Paulina Gonzalez Martinez, Energy justice and urban politics in Mexico City (International Development PhD Programme, Year 1)
  • Emilio Soberon Bravo, The social and material politics of lithium-ion batteries in Latin America (International Development PhD Programme, Year 1)
  • Adolfo Mejía Montero, The socio-technical politics of community wind projects on the Tehuantepec Isthmus, Oaxaca, Mexico (Geosciences PhD Programme, Writing Up). 

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Tom Neumark, Research Associater, EPSRC Sunblock Project


  • Jamie Cross, Senior Lecturer, Social Anthropology
  • Laura Watts, Senior Lecturer, Energy and Society, Geography