CfP RGS 2016: Defining ‘access’ as the nexus of ‘energy access for all’ in the global South

Call For Papers: RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 August – 2 September 2016

Defining ‘access’ as the nexus of ‘energy access for all’ in the global South

Session Convenors:  Ankit Kumar (Eindhoven University of Technology), Britta Turner (Durham University) and Raihana Ferdous (Durham University)

Globally some 1.2 billion people are known to lack access to electricity and a further 2.7 billion people continue to rely on biomass as their sole energy source for cooking. Achieving universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030 has been a focus of the UN’s sustainable energy (SE4ALL) campaign and is now one of the agreed sustainable development goals (SDGs) yet there remains remarkably little consensus on what constitutes energy access, how best to achieve these targets or to track their progress. Often viewed as simply a technical and logistical process of boosting the number of connections and ‘plugging’ consumers into a grid infrastructure there remains a pressing need to problematize energy ‘access’ and to trace some of the local social, cultural, political and economic dynamics that are critical in defining what energy access means and how it is experienced in the global South.  

We invite submissions of both theoretical and empirically-focused papers concerned with the configuration of the energy access agenda in the global South. Areas of potential interest for contributions to this session might include but are not limited to:

  • What constitutes energy access and how much energy is enough? 
  • What forms does energy access take and who decides what counts?
  • Kinds of connections and disconnections 
  • Formal and informal routes to energy access
  • How is access endured and experienced?

Abstracts of 250 words may be emailed to Ankit Kumar (, Britta Turner ( or Raihana Ferdous ( by 15 February 2016. We will inform the selected session participants by 17 February 2016.


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