Saska Petrova: Illuminating Austerity

2 August 2017

Saska Petrova has a newly-published paper in European Urban and Regional Studies exploring the use of light in the home as an indicator of poverty.

The paper is titled 'Illuminating austerity: Lighting poverty as an agent and signifier of the Greek crisis' and in it, Saska looks at the multiple roles of light in the home and focuses on the enforced lack of illumination following the 2008 Greek economic crisis.

Saska's research makes a connection between illumination practices and discourses to the implementation of austerity, by arguing that the threat of darkness has become a tool for compelling vulnerable groups to pay their electricity bills.

The evidence presented in the paper is based on two sets of interviews with 25 households (including a total of 55 adult members) living in and around Thessaloniki – Greece’s second largest city, and one that has suffered severe economic consequences as a result of the crisis.

Saska has established that the under-consumption of light is one of the most pronounced expressions of energy poverty, and as such endangers the ability to participate in the customs that define membership of society. But the emergence of activist-led amateur electricians and the symbolic and material mobilization of light for political purposes have also created multiple opportunities for resistance.

The full paper is available at the Sage journals website

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