Benjamin Schütze | 2023

Follow the Grid, Follow the Violence: The Project for a Transregional Mediterranean Electricity Ring

In: Middle East Critique 2023.

This paper draws on the project for a Mediterranean electricity ring to study questions of structural violence and exclusion. It focuses on how forms of containment at different sites of the envisaged ring connect with energy connectivities enabled by transregional electricity flows. It illustrates how seemingly local manifestations of violence at different nodes of the ring are not a testimony to the incompleteness of ongoing (energy) infrastructure projects, but instead an interconnected and distinct part of the latter. Specifically, it discusses the greenwashing of authoritarian power and colonial occupation, extractivism, climate, and anti-refugee violence. While trans-Mediterranean electricity interconnections enable the greater integration of renewables and may lead to more sustainable energy futures, they are also illustrative of the desire to find new ways to bypass and/or contain Arab populations, as well as refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean. The project for a transregional Mediterranean electricity ring both creates new connectivities and reinforces violent forms of containment while staging European sovereignty in and beyond the Mediterranean. It hides and thereby reproduces (colonial) violence behind a façade of common futures and interconnectivity for all, which reveals itself as deeply exclusionary and Eurocentric.

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