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Circuits of Capital: Energy and the Politics of Dispossession in India

Authors: Mukul Kumar*,
Topics: Energy, Environment, Development
Keywords: circuits, capital, energy, dispossession
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the last three decades of liberalization, India’s electricity grid has been transformed from a state-owned enterprise into an archipelago of publicly traded companies in which the government is often the majority shareholder. This shift has rewired circuits of capital and electricity, transforming the state into a shareholder and the electricity grid into a site of financial accumulation. Drawing upon Marx’s concept of the circuit, an analytical category which sits at the intersection of histories of science and political economy, this paper tracks the ways in which the financialization of electricity grids is premised upon caste-based and gendered dispossessions of land in south India. By foregrounding how the financialization of electricity is constituted by historical and ongoing dispossessions, the paper challenges of liberal visions of clean energy futures, and opens up other ways of conceptualizing the relationship between land and energy justice in the contemporary historical conjuncture.

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