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Envi11


Heterogeneous infrastructures for African futures 
Convenors:
Alexander Follmann (LMU Munich)
Mary Lawhon (University of Edinburgh)
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Discussant:
Evance Mwathunga (Chancellor College, University of Malawi)
Format :
Panel
Streams :
Environment and Geography (x) Infrastructure (y)
Sessions:
Wednesday 31 May, -, Wednesday 31 May, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

Concepts of incremental or heterogeneous infrastructure configurations offer new ways of thinking differently about, and doing research on, infrastructures. This session aims to enhance our understanding of the multiple transformations of making heterogeneous infrastructures for African futures.

Long Abstract:

Different parts of Africa have seen notable investments in infrastructures. This revival of 'infrastructures for development' in Africa and other parts of the Global South has been accompanied with an "infrastructural turn" in social science research. Scholars have argued that (large-scale) infrastructures gained new importance as formative instruments of regional planning. Megaprojects such as dams, ports or corridors go hand in hand with infrastructure expansions such as electricity and water supply or digital infrastructures and experimentation about new ways of doing infrastructure. These new infrastructures are intended to better position regions of the global south in global competition, which (at least discursively) legitimizes besides private especially public investments.

Northern-derived, 'modern infrastructure ideal' often continues to inform policies and practices, shaping ideas of what infrastructure is and how it should look and function. However, various studies have identified ongoing challenges associated with modern infrastructure. There continue to be fundamental questions over whether modernization - and its related investments in 'modern' infrastructures - makes sense as a framework for development. Taking up these debates, concepts of incremental, mundane or heterogeneous infrastructure configurations offer new ways of thinking differently about, and doing research on, infrastructures.

This session aims to contribute to these debates and enhance our understanding of the multiple, and dynamic transformations of making heterogeneous infrastructures for African futures. We invite papers that study heterogeneous infrastructures in themes such as, but not limited to: urban/rural/regional infrastructures in transition; digital infrastructures; infrastructure megaprojects; everyday use of infrastructures; etc.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -
Session 2 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -