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When homes become prisons: the relational spaces of post-socialist energy poverty.


In this paper I aim to develop a relational geographical interpretation of energy poverty in the postsocialist states of Eastern and Central Europe, through a field-based study of inadequately heated homes in the Macedonian cities of Skopje and Štip. According to the reviewed evidence, domestic energy deprivation simultaneously shapes, and is shaped by, the institutional relationships between policy actors at different levels of governance, and the day-to-day interactions between vulnerable households and the built environment. It is contingent on three sets of processes: the socioeconomic implications of energy reforms in postsocialism, the inadequate energy efficiency of the homes of energy-poor households, and the mismatch between housing needs and heating systems at the household level. As a result of such interdependencies, households may become ‘imprisoned’ in particular types of sociospatial arrangements that contribute to the emergence of poverty.