Living Off-Grid in Wales

Eco-Villages in Policy and Practice

Author(s) Elaine Forde

Language: English

Genre(s): Social Policy and Law

  • October 2020 · 224 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Paperback - 9781786836588
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786836595
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786836601

About The Book

Living Off-Grid in Wales addresses broad debates about the possibility of planning for a sustainable future, by an examination of rural development off the grid. Contrasting Wales’s policy on One Planet Development – a planning policy that encourages living off-grid – with a more DIY approach to living off-grid, the book presents case studies from eco-villages that imagine off-grid very differently. The text pivots on the problematic question that if planning is about the spatial reproduction of society, then why should it encourage autonomy from societal systems. The ethnographic case studies in the book comprise an ethnography of rural Wales, and the focus on eco-villages brings a fresh perspective to the anthropological literature on community by considering off-grid as a radical form of social assemblage.


‘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.’
-Professor 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.’
-Professor Jenny Pickerill, University of Sheffield


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

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Elaine Forde

Elaine Forde is a lecturer at Swansea University. Her research explores the ethnography of energy, with a particular focus on how new political and technological regimes are changing the relationship between energy and societies.

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