General Anthropology Division
Oral Presentation Session
Energy issues are becoming one of the most discussed topics in today’s political and cultural landscape. In most Asian, African, and Latin American countries, a variety of energy projects are under development to meet a rapid growth of energy demand. In this context, the knowledge and practice of the engineers who work on those project sites plays an important role in shaping energy production paradigms, and, further, influences energy future. This ethnographic case study explores engineering culture on an energy project site, including how engineers interact with construction technology, materials, and with the local environment and natural resources; how engineering knowledge and culture are formed around encounters with energy technology in its various conceptual and material guises; and how these knowledges and cultural practices affect global energy production discourses and paradigms. To gather data, in-depth interviews with 30 engineers working on a multi-national pump-storage power plant located in Israel were conducted. Themes including but not limited to natural resources, engineering standards, and engineering frames of mind emerged through data analysis. The study highlights how engineering knowledge and practices are formed and how they shape local energy-development projects. In the global context of increasing renewable energy development, these findings can be widely used as reference points by research scholars, construction companies, investors, NGOs, and policy makers working on energy.