A Postcolonial Critique of Community Energy: Searching for Community as Solidarity in India and Scotland

Ankit Kumar, Gerald Aiken

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Community renewable energy (CRE) represents a growing empirical and academic turn towards community‐based sustainability and climate change interventions. This paper brings together postcolonial theory and CRE for the first time to outline fundamental tensions in the conceptualisation and application of the idea of community. The understanding of community within the CRE discourse is largely: (1) location‐based; and/or (2) a community of choice that is consciously opted into. Driven by postcolonial theory, this paper counterpoises both as a form of community as contract against an idea of community as solidarity. Its central thesis is that actually existing community, contrary to how the bulk of CRE literature commonly understands it, is a combination of bonds of solidarity and emergent purposes. The paper conceptualises community as fluid bonds of solidarity that align and realign differently around different purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2020


  • community
  • energy transition
  • Scotland
  • India
  • solidarity
  • postcolonial theory

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