Illuminating a State: State-Building and Electricity in Occupied Iraq
Abstract

Abstract:

The U.S. statebuilding project in Iraq is a modern phenomenon of political engineering. Statebuilding, a set of practices and forms of knowledge that are produced and re-produced in academic and policy centers, is involved in perpetual forms of interpreting and intervening on the empirical reality in order to shape a particular order (the “state”). Under the U.S. occupation, electricity was one site of such interventions that was important for illumination and powering of machinery and the oil economy. The grid became a site for contesting the state power, sectarian and ethnic reformulations and relations of political and criminal violence.