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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Energy Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa
by Buchholz, Kathleen B., M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2014, 83; 10305844
Abstract (Summary)

Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of electrification and some of the worst education statistics worldwide. In the absence of strong infrastructure for a reliable grid system and quality universal primary schooling, the poor suffer significantly. Though substantial research has been done on both issues separately, the relationship between the two has yet to be explored. This thesis uses social justice theories to introduce the connections between energy poverty and an individual’s education capabilities through a case study in Zambia. Case study research was carried out in the urban low-resource settlements of Lusaka, Zambia over a period of two months with Lifeline Energy, using methods of participant observation.

Drawing on trends discovered in survey responses, interviews and feedback from a distribution of renewable technologies, this study demonstrates that a lack of modern forms of energy detracts from education. By synthesizing the data with Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach and Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir’s scarcity theory, the research reveals that energy poverty hinders an individual’s ability to study and gain a quality education and diminishes their available cognitive capacity to learn by tunneling attention to the resource deficit. Furthermore, it supports the claim that energy poverty is not gender neutral. The research concludes that the scarcity caused by energy poverty can be lessened by the investment in and use of small-scale renewable technologies which alleviates some of the daily stress and grind of poverty. This thesis lays the groundwork to recognize energy poverty as an injustice.

Keywords: Energy Poverty, Education, Gender, Sub-Saharan Africa, Scarcity, Capabilities Approach

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perry, Susan
Commitee: Pearson, Kristine
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Public policy, Sub Saharan Africa Studies, Energy
Keywords: Capabilities approach, Energy poverty, Gender, Scarcity, Zambia
Publication Number: 10305844
ISBN: 978-1-369-49408-2
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