Accepted Paper:

Temporarily out of the state: infrastructural entanglements in Daghestani mountains  

Author:

Iwona Kaliszewska (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

This article focuses on the management of infrastructures by local communities in Daghestani mountainous villages. I puts the familiar scholarly narratives of post-socialist 'state failure' or 'zones of abandonment' in perspective.

Paper long abstract:

This article focuses on the management of infrastructures by local communities in Daghestani mountainous villages. In this peripherial mountainous region, state authorities have little say and infrastructures such as roads or electricity are neglected and crumbling. Rather than complain about their abandonment by the state, however, local inhabitants actively take charge of developing and maintaining infrastructure. Officially state-owned and state-managed, roads and utility networks are funded by private donors. The donors are locally-connected entrepreneurs who pass funds to the community as alms given to the tomb of the local 'saint'. The autonomous management of infrastructure is a source of pride to the village communities and a foundation of moral order. Managing their own infrastructures frees them from state attempts at controlling time: the villagers do not long for a lost past of state care, nor do they need to look up to the state to provide for their future. In the state margins, the usual categories can be inhabited in unexpected ways. "The forms of illegibility, partial belonging, and disorder that seem to inhabit the margins of the state constitute its necessary condition as a theoretical and political object" (Das, Poole, 2004).

Panel Rur02
Tracking changes in the mountains: imaginaries, mobilities, narratives