Accepted paper:

'Moving in two speeds': financialization, infrastructure, and governance in Morocco

Authors:

Cristiana Strava (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper proposes to explore the link between the global movement of capital and emerging forms of governance through the case of Morocco's first high-speed rail project and the development corridor it is envisioned to be part of.

Paper long abstract:

Spectacular urban futures are being constructed at astounding and unprecedented rates in Morocco. In recent years the North African Kingdom has embarked on a series of ambitious billion-euro projects to overhaul the country's infrastructure on an exceptional scale. Capitalizing on the ongoing crises precipitated by the Arab Spring revolts in the region and its own comparative political and social stability, the Moroccan regime has been attracting global as well as regional investors with the promise of new 'mega projects' that aim to transform natural, economic and social landscapes. Aptly described by Filip de Boeck (2011) as 'speculative and spectacular' visions of urban space, such building projects offer a unique vantage point for the study of how new regimes of value are produced through the increasing financialization of infrastructure - understood here as both the dominance of capital market financial systems, as well as the increasing political and economic power generated by the global movement of finance. Taking the case of the projected Casablanca-Tangiers 'development corridor', this paper will zoom in on the high speed-rail (LGV) network meant to link the two future metropolises along the Atlantic coast. Set for inauguration in June of this year, the LGV's building is ideally poised to illuminate questions about how the movement of global capital is impacting local mobilities as well as participating in the production of emergent forms of governance.

panel P016
Mobilizing materiality: theorizing the relationship between finance and infrastructure development