Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Faculty Advisor(s)

Thomas Love

Subject Categories

Social and Cultural Anthropology


The district of La Encañada, located deep within the Andean sierra north of the city of Cajamarca, is in a state of transition. As the beneficiary of a 2006 collaborative project between ITDG-Soluciones Prácticas and the European Union, nine of the district’s communities received a solar panel stipulated for placement on each community’s local centro educativo, a school serving students at both the primary and secondary grade levels. Investment in solar panels was intended to complement a much more integral project designed to harness the resources available in the district and to thus empower peasant men and women and their way of life. Three years after the completion of the project, the installation of solar panels had granted the project an ironic degree of success. Peasant men and women and their way of life had been empowered in an unintended sense: concomitant with the introduction of the solar panels, their livelihood, environment, and particular culture had been ushered into a new field of power relations. The placement of solar panels specifically on schools represented an impetus for the construction of a new nomos, which Pierre Bourdieu has defined as a “common principle of vision and division.” This paper discusses the way in which the electrification of schools has transformed the vision of enlightenment and imposed new principles for the division of reality into city and countryside in the nine communities of La Encañada. Or, in other words, how the introduction of light has cast a shadow over these communities, throwing previously taken-for-granted distinctions of life into relief and inventing a countryside therefrom.