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Accepted Paper:

A portrait of power system maintainers and repairers: how the Indonesian state maintains its electric infrastructure to keep its promises  
Anto Mohsin (Northwestern University in Qatar)

Short abstract:

This paper paints a portrait of electric maintainers and repairers. Based on fieldwork data collected in 2023, it reveals the paradoxical yet functional structure of this group of workers. Working within this structure they overcome challenges and figure out ways to keep motivated at their jobs.

Long abstract:

Infrastructures break down. They need to be continuously maintained, repaired, or retrofitted to ensure their promised functionalities and goals are kept. This paper examines the various ways that the Indonesian state through its state-owned power company maintains and repairs its electric infrastructure. The focus will be on the maintenance and repair of the transmission and distribution lines and substations. Based on six months of patchwork ethnography and interviews with more than a dozen electric maintainers in 2023, this study reveals a network of seemingly contradictory but highly functional maintenance workers. The labor structure is simultaneously hierarchical and egalitarian, gendered but also supportive of female employees, fragmented yet unified. This paper will also highlight the challenges that these maintainers face and the motivations they bring to the workplace to continue their work.

Traditional Open Panel P106
The promises and fractures of infrastructures: infrastructural imaginaries and the realities of our built world
  Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -