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Dwelling off the grid: A public ethnography

Starting Date: 
April, 2011
3 years
RRU Researchers: 
Vannini, Phillip

Phillip Vannini, CRC in Innovative Learning & Public Ethnography, was recently funded by SSHRC for his study: Dwelling off-the-grid: A public ethnography.


The research involves using public ethnography to gather stories and experiences from people across Canada as they endeavour to live their lives off-grid. “Off-the-grid” is an expression which refers to a variety of strategies by way of which individual households and communities disconnect from, or alternatively and strategically connect to, the dominant technological infrastructures which provide energy, water, and communication flows.

The objective of the proposed research is to describe, understand, and interpret the socio-cultural significance of practices of off-the-grid dwelling. The research seeks to illuminate practices, assumptions, values, ideals, structures of feeling, affective economies, spatialities, materialities, practicalities and ways of being that will further dialogue around livelihood and technology, innovatively raising awareness of practices of dwelling and living at a time marked by tremendous global environmental challenges.