Shifting Narratives of Electricity and Energy in Periods of Transition


Epilogue: Transnational comparisons of Shifting Electricity-Energy Narratives

School of Philosophy, Religion & History of Science, University of Leeds, Michael Sadler Building, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, UK, LS2 9JT.

In contrast to Thomas Hughes’ classic systems theory published as Networks of Power exactly 40 years ago, the collective import of this volume’s assembled scholarship is to highlight the role of cultural contingency (vis-à-vis technological momentum) in the take-up of electricity. The…

A way out of darkness: Thinking about the future of Spain through the promises of electricity and energy abundance, 1898–1931

Visiting Research Fellow. Centre for History and Philosophy of Science. University of Leeds / “Juan de la Cierva – Incorporación” Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Contemporary History Department. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
D.Zapico[at] / daniel.perezz[at]

This article historicizes electricity and energy abundance and their relation to the reconfiguration of political power in a context of (self-perceived) national decline. It analyses how electricity was used to generate a whole series of social narratives on national modernization and, most…

Manual and Electrical Energies in the Visualisation of “Electrical Calcutta”, c. 1890-1925

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Stavanger

Through examinations of domestic servants in electrical advertisements and writings this article looks at the imaginations and realities of visions of an “Electrical Calcutta” at the turn of the twentieth century. It argues that the diverse conceptions of an “Electrical Calcutta” were intimately…

Electricity, modernity and tradition during Irish rural electrification, 1940-1970

Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland.

The arrival of widespread domestic electricity in rural Ireland was spread over two decades in the 1950s and 1960s, where the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) rolled out an electrical grid across the State. This energy transition was warmly welcomed by the women of rural Ireland, particularly for…

Out of the reach of cattle? Animal subjectivities shaping the electrical cultures of British livestock farming in the second half of the 20th C.

Leeds Trinity University, UK

This paper explores the use of electricity in 20th-century British farming, as captured in the agricultural press, advisory literature, films and specialist publications intended for the farming community. Through the lens of livestock management, the article addresses the ways in which non-…