Irregular Connections: Everyday Energy Politics in Catalonia


While questions of energy and energy transition have become hotly contested, the abstract and fetishized conception of energy that dominates contemporary political debates occludes connections to everyday life. By tracing the activities of Catalan activist network Alianza contra la Pobreza Energética (Alliance against Energy Poverty or APE), this article seeks to excavate the political possibilities opened up by a more everyday energy politics. The article addresses the practice of illegal utilities connections among the urban poor of Catalonia, arguing that this constitutes a form of makeshift urbanism resonant of that conceptualized from within ‘Southern’ cities. These ‘irregular connections’ to urban infrastructure networks are then distinguished from the ‘irregular connections’ formed between people within the collectivized social infrastructure of APE. APE, I argue, translate ‘energy’ as social reproduction, framing their struggle for the right to energy around the right to sustain life with dignity. This, I suggest, is the starting point for a feminist praxis capable of creating new and unruly subjectivities, reconfiguring reproductive relations in more caring and collective directions, and ultimately challenging the violence of the commodity form.