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The incomplete, the imperfect and electricity

Electricity is an infrastructure of infrastructures - it makes other networks possible, opening up possibilities for many private initiatives and collective visions. In many parts of the world, electricity is not something that can simply be taken for granted, so private and collective tactics, strategies, dreams are limited from the start. Monrovia, Liberia, is such a place.

Incomplete electricity infrastructures, beyond this limiting aspect, are also productive, sometimes in a positive way, sometimes less so. They are productive in the sense that they trigger individual tactics and strategies, as well as new collectives, new commons, and emerging collective strategies. Both governmental actors and local communities actively shape and use the situation of incompleteness, oppose and collaborate, respond and strategize.

Thus, incomplete infrastructure offers a landscape of risk and opportunity for residents and governmental actors alike. The incompleteness should not be judged against the modernist norms of engineering designs, but as adaptation by all actors to scarcities and opportunities, and adaptation to each other, as parts of the population are imperfectly represented in governance.

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