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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Living Off-Grid in Wales

Eco-Villages in Policy and Practice

Distributed for University of Wales Press

Living Off-Grid in Wales

Eco-Villages in Policy and Practice

Living Off-grid in Wales scouts the new policy context for off-grid rural development by contrasting the policy approach with the activist version of going off-grid. The examples examined in the book feed into much broader debates about the possibility of planning for sustainable development. This book offers clarity to the notion of off-grid by examining two main case studies that do off-grid very differently from each other. The policy context that is examined in the book is distinctive to Wales – it is novel to see a planning policy that not only incorporates but insists on off-grid. The book pivots on this contradiction: if planning (as is thought) is about the spatial reproduction of society, then why should it encourage independence from these systems? Living Off-Grid in Wales also fosters an ethnography of rural Wales, and the book’s focus on alternative communities brings a novel perspective to the anthropological literature on community by considering off-grid as a new form of radical social assemblage.

224 pages | 3 halftones, 1 map | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Earth Sciences: Environment

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“Two hundred years ago, Welsh coal was already fuelling the planet’s first industrial revolution. One hundred years have now passed since Lenin announced that “electrification of the entire country” was the precondition for the planned economic development of communism, in which factories and power stations would be the new ‘centres of enlightenment.’ With her sophisticated investigation of the socio-technical and close-up ethnographic observations, Elaine Forde now demonstrates that, as creative individuals devise original ways of life in their eco-villages, off multiple grids, both inside and outside the plan, Welsh communities are again prominent in the global vanguard.”

Chris Hann, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

“What does it mean to go ‘off-grid’ in this day and age? Forde’s exceptional access to off-grid communities gives a real insight into what it means, in everyday terms, philosophically and conceptually, to reject prevailing social and physical norms and to attempt to move outside of the reach of state infrastructures. This book shows how entangled we all are in the grids of power that structure the world and how demanding it is to step outside of them, and it helps us to rethink what a ‘grid’ is, and why it matters.”

Simone Abram, Durham University

“This is a great book with a novel conceptual approach structured as it is around the concept of off-grid and, importantly, the notion of grid-logics. It offers tasters of what off-grid village life is like but uses these to ask broader questions about what being off-grid means. I would highly recommend that anyone with an interest in alternative ways of living read this book.”

Jenny Pickerill, University of Sheffield

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
0 Introduction
1 Wales
2 Y Mynydd: A Village off the Grid
3 Tir y Gafel: A Model Village
4 More Problems with Community
5 Living Off-grid: Towards a Material Culture
6 OPD: Policy in Practice
7 Concluding Remarks

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