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Political ecologies of energy poverty in Zimbabwe

Abstract

Studies that attribute energy poverty to a lack of technical resources abound in Zimbabwe. However, such line of reasoning falls short of giving a rigorous analysis of the existing political-economic factors and scalar politics. These include power dynamics, gender relations, class, historic patterns of dominance and marginalisation at different geographical scales and the discourse on energy poverty. Accordingly, a political ecology framework can address these theoretical gaps given its expansive scope. Using a qualitative approach, a political ecology analysis of the Zingondi Resettlement Area in Zimbabwe illuminates the interaction between these factors. Furthermore, it extends the argument through a Foucauldian view on apparatus of security in order to understand how the state uses its calculated power to address energy poverty. It concludes that energy poverty is a processual outcome, which is socially constructed. Therefore, there is need to pay attention to the complex and diverse nature of rural development. This includes embracing a development with and for the people approach, which takes into account pertinent aspects of the intended beneficiaries’ contexts.

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Correspondence to Ellen Fungisai Chipango.

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Chipango, E.F. Political ecologies of energy poverty in Zimbabwe. GeoJournal (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-021-10566-4

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Keywords

  • Political economy
  • Political ecology
  • Socially constructed
  • Power
  • Foucault