Accepted paper:

'Folded Infrastructure' two years on: what is at stake when unregulated spaces generate "best practices"?


Melpomeni Antonakaki (Technical University of Munich)
Bernd Kasparek (University of Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

This paper proposes the concept of 'folded infrastructure' for addressing the politics of 'hotspots' at the external European border. We ask what can hybrid, unfinished, expendable, short-lived infrastructure show that is relevant to the question of Europe, Europeanisation and its conflicts?

Paper long abstract:

In this paper we offer a theorisation of hotspot operations as a 'folded infrastructure'; a concept that allows dynamic force fields of political and moral struggles to appear while found digested, squeezed, transformed or sustained through infrastructural change. The approach is inspired by STS scholar Penelope Harvey's work, which has argued for setting into motion the topological quality of the infrastructural relation to produce multiple narratives of state- and polity- making (2012). For developing what we perceived as topological rather than geographic or geopolitical at the External European border, we draw from our own observation /intervention material and related studies in the span of two years (2015-2017). We are interested in 'minor narratives' (Deleuze and Guattari, 1986) of Europe -making, so we start one step before the powerful 'centres of calculation' (Latour, 2005), at lowly frictions during hotspot enclosures of testimony, labour and pre-registration. We thus are able to point out ways that the opened-up by the hotspot Approach (2015) 'spaces of experimentation' relate to current generalisable "fruits" for policy or regulation. Our analysis shows how performing state-space and state-responsibility does not necessarily coincide neither with territoriality (as an integrated and networked national narrative) nor sovereignty (as an integrated body politic).

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Assembly, silence, dissent
The European Other as site of institutional experiment. Articulating friction in infrastructures for processing alterity