Claudia Prempeh, Beyreuth University, Germany

Wednesday 22nd March 16.00-18.00,






Claudia Prempeh
DEMAND visitor: Beyreuth International
Graduate School of African Studies, Germany

Do we have lights?
Lived realities and coping strategies for ‘dumsorlogy’

Between 2012 and 2015 residents in Accra were faced with prolonged
blackouts. In Ghana, the satirical term ‘dumsor’ (meaning the process
of switching between lights on and off) has become part of everyday
language. This talk draws on an ethnographic account of 11
households as they try to reweave their routines, aspects of which are
completely dependent on electricity. “Dumsor” necessitated a
renegotiation of social relations and a reorganization of practices at
the micro domestic level. Electricity is still valued because it has
shaped and textured everyday routines, relationships and
expectations. Material possessions which are described as symbolic
makers of modern living, no longer represent luxury or status but
necessity and convenience. These findings contribute to research on
the capacity of households to cope in crisis situations.

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