Our Lives with Electric Things

Jamie Cross (Editor), Simone Abram (Editor), Michael Anusas (Editor), Lea Schick (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationSpecial issue


Our lives with electric things are positively charged with meaning. Our bodies pulse with electrical activity. The electric appliances, devices, and technologies around us bring hope and anxiety, possibility and danger. Some have transformed our possibilities for reproducing, nurturing, and sustaining life. Some mediate human sociality across time and space, while others knit ecological and interspecies relationships together. Still others create possibilities for controlling, managing, exploiting, and ending life. Against this backdrop any anthropology of electricity seems to require electric things. Can we still imagine the possibility of lives without electric things? Can electric things help us to address the possibilities and limits of life with electricity? Can our lives with electricity ever be disentangled from electric things? What are the unique capacities and material politics of electric things in different global contexts? What circuits do they make or break? All the pieces in this series share a commitment to rethinking our lives with things, using electric artifacts and materials to push beyond the taken-for-granted vocabularies of material culture and to generate novel ethnographic insights. Together, we hope they will electrify anthropology, and inspire a generation of anthropologists to think electric.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationCultural Anthropology
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017


  • anthropology
  • electricity
  • energy
  • ethnography
  • environment
  • material culture


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