Decolonial Epistemologies for Energy Planning in Brazil

De Freitas E Silva, A. 2019. Decolonial Epistemologies for Energy Planning in Brazil. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Law

TitleDecolonial Epistemologies for Energy Planning in Brazil
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsDe Freitas E Silva, A.

This thesis opens up theoretical pathways for decolonial epistemologies for energy planning in Brazil. The critical analysis is verticalized from the 2015–2024 Brazilian Decennial Energy Expansion Plan (DEEP) to better highlight the epistemological problems in energy planning. Epistemological challenges demand a critical understanding of the ethical system we live in – the ethics of exhaustion – to enable a comprehensive radical transformation of the consideration of energy futures, since epistemology is part of the formalization of ethics. This thesis argues that energy planning in Brazil is based on the ethics of exhaustion to epistemically impose the colonial agenda of power. Energy futures are planned as necessary harm to achieve the fetishized good, normalized as the ethical intersubjective and human–environment relationships. Critically analysing the ethical system enables understanding the epistemologies for energy planning in Brazil as the formal moment of the ethics of exhaustion, which can only be challenged in an intersectional manner by framing the multilateral and collateral aspects of the violence consistent in planning energy futures regardless and to the detriment of the existence of life. Epistemic diversity is the first step towards decolonizing energy planning. It comprises: the inclusion of indigenous and communal perspectives when elaborating the energy plans; having persons directly affected by energy enterprises as the majority of the personnel involved in the activity of planning; setting the priority of energy planning as the production and reproduction of all lives in a non-hierarchized manner; recognizing the necessary balance in the human–environment relationship; privileging local needs in relation to transnational markets; and intentionally de-hierarchizing the benefits of energy exploitation by delinking energy studies, production, and distribution from financial capital. This work challenges colonial epistemologies, based on the ethics of exhaustion, from the standpoint of the colonial difference, proposing epistemic diversity as the impulse for decolonial energy planning in Brazil. It is an urgent academic task to perceive epistemic decolonization to transform the present in order to stop condemning the future to social and environmental catastrophes.

KeywordsEnergy planning, decolonial epistemologies, coloniality, colonial difference, ethics of exhaustion, ethics of abundance,
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Publication dates
PublishedSep 2019

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