The times of infrastructure
Elisa Tamburo (SOAS, University of London)
Luke Heslop (London School of Economics)
Laura Bear (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Edward Simpson (SOAS)
Examination Schools Room 14
Start time:
18 September, 2018 at 13:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel turns its attention to the intersection of infrastructure and time by examining how temporal registers of infrastructure affect people's past, presents and futures and their possibilities to move, stay or settle.

Long abstract:

Infrastructure has realised its time. Technologies of infrastructure and the anthropology of time have opened up fertile new vistas onto the social times of capitalist modernity, aspiration and mobile futures.

Infrastructure holds future promises, these have often proved to be elusive (Abram and Weszkalnys 2011) and far from the temporal scales envisioned. Such chronotopes of infrastructure (Bear 2014) impact the way people plan and imagine possible futures. Teleological developmental narratives play out through infrastructure (Jeffrey 2010), where waiting for infrastructure means waiting for development and change, and when promises of building infrastructure are delayed or broken, publics must suspend their expectations of modernity.

Imagined as collapsing time, mobility infrastructure such as bridges, highways and tunnels opens up the possibility to commute to new sites of employment and participate in a fast moving mobile modern economy. Such infrastructural changes impact on time spent within and between labour and leisure. Calculations on fiscal futures enables infrastructure to leach into the future when it comes to planning and construction. Long-term development finance allows for infrastructural ambitions not linked to yearly budgetary allowances. This gives the way for financialized infrastructure to compress material possibilities, bringing the future forward in a material, axiomatic and often visceral way.

We invite papers on:

• Times, scales and financialization of urban infrastructure vs lived temporal horizons of citizens

• Temporalities of connective infrastructure (connectivity, time collapse, and commuting)

• Permanence and impermanence of infrastructure (maintainance, durability and disrepair)

• The promises of infrastructure and their non-realization (waiting, suspension, anticipation)