P05
The politics of infrastructure development

Convenors:
Laura Rival (University of Oxford)
Cressida Jervis Read (University of Oxford)
Tom Scott-Smith (University of Oxford)
Idalina Baptista (University of Oxford)
Location:
Room 9 (Examination Schools)
Start time:
13 September, 2016 at 11:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

We invite papers that explore the varied ways in which attention to infrastructure (including infrastructure histories) leads to a better understanding of politics in the development process.

Long abstract:

Although infrastructural development has attracted much ethnographic and conceptual attention in recent years, the specific ways in which infrastructures configure political spaces need further examination, both comparatively and from a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. Infrastructure has been at the core of debates about public ownership and state intervention, especially in developing economies, which are said to be facing a massive infrastructure deficit. The World Bank has calculated that 1.2 billion people live today without electricity, 60 per cent of the world's population lack internet access and at least 748 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Moreover, the number of people living in cities is expected to double by 2030, leading to new and rising demands for water, power, transport, and other basic services. It is in this context that infrastructure has been said to hold the promise of revealing politics in action, or to even to facilitate political invention, if not political inventiveness. This panel invites papers that explore the varied ways in which a renewed attention to infrastructure (including infrastructure histories) leads to a better understanding of the role of politics in the development process. Papers that explore the politics of transferability or the contexts and conditions for infrastructure development are particularly welcome.