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Precarity, structures and struggles: lives affected by infrastructure projects in Africa 
Convenors:
Gediminas Lesutis (University of Amsterdam)
Marie Müller-Koné (Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC))
Kennedy Mkutu
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Format :
Panel
Streams :
Environment and Geography (x) Infrastructure (y)
Sessions:
Thursday 1 June, -, Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

The aim of this panel is to bring together empirical and theoretical contributions on lives affected by infrastructure projects in Africa. We explore dimensions of inclusion/exclusion, opportunism, resistance and conflict through the lens of precarity.

Long Abstract:

Infrastructure development has experienced a political renaissance in Africa and is again at the centre of national, regional, and continental development agendas. National governments are eager to advance large-scale infrastructure developments with the hope that these will drive economic growth, reduce reliance on foreign aid, and provide stable revenue sources and employment (Unruh, et al 2019). However, infrastructure investments are frequently implemented in peripheral, previously marginalized and rural areas. Such areas often have limited interaction with outside actors, national laws and institutions. Planners may be ignorant of existing social orders and land-use practices, legal frameworks may be weak to protect rights of local communities and social safeguards may be tokenistic.

Dazzling visions of modernity and promises of a better life for citizens may often accompany these projects, and help to mobilise the necessary cooperation or compliance for their implementation, but often, local actors, precariously positioned as they are in the midst of capitalist forces and more enabled members of society, struggle to benefit and balance their losses of lands and livelihoods. In the struggle we may see local actors “entangling” with the projects (trying to attach new benefits) or “fraying” (disrupting) the projects (Aalders et al 2021). Thereby, both the future of local livelihoods and the future of the infrastructure development plans are precarious. It is the various dimensions of precarity and the ensuing struggle (Lesutis 2022) that we wish to explore with this panel.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -