Democracy's Infrastructure

Techno-Politics and Protest after Apartheid

Author: Antina von Schnitzler

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400882990

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 1911

In the past decade, South Africa's "miracle transition" has been interrupted by waves of protests in relation to basic services such as water and electricity. Less visibly, the post-apartheid period has witnessed widespread illicit acts involving infrastructure, including the nonpayment of service charges, the bypassing of metering devices, and illegal connections to services. Democracy’s Infrastructure shows how such administrative links to the state became a central political terrain during the antiapartheid struggle and how this terrain persists in the post-apartheid present. Focusing on conflicts surrounding prepaid water meters, Antina von Schnitzler examines the techno-political forms through which democracy takes shape. Von Schnitzler explores a controversial project to install prepaid water meters in Soweto—one of many efforts to curb the nonpayment of service charges that began during the antiapartheid struggle—and she traces how infrastructure, payment, and technical procedures become sites where citizenship is mediated and contested. She follows engineers, utility officials, and local bureaucrats as they consider ways to prompt Sowetans to pay for water, and she shows how local residents and activists wrestle with the constraints imposed by meters. This investigation of democracy from the perspective of infrastructure reframes the conventional story of South Africa’s transition, foregrounding the less visible remainders of apartheid and challenging readers to think in more material terms about citizenship and activism in the postcolonial world. Democracy’s Infrastructure examines how seemingly mundane technological domains become charged territory for struggles over South Africa’s political transformation.

Eskom

Electricity and technopolitics in South Africa

Author: Sylvy Jaglin,Alain Dubresson

Publisher: Juta and Company (Pty) Ltd

ISBN: 177582215X

Category: History

Page: 178

View: 8524

Africa’s leading producer of electricity, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd, is also a vertically integrated monopoly, owned by the South African state. This national champion was shaken in 2008, when it was obliged to introduce ‘load shedding’, or rolling blackouts, and again in late 2014. Trying to understand how and why one of the iconic pillars of South African state capitalism is now in distress, the authors of this book argue that the so-called electricity crisis is in fact a public monopoly crisis. Moving beyond technical aspects, they explore the relationship between state power and Eskom before, during and after apartheid. From this perspective, they suggest that the current technical and financial troubles of this public utility are illustrative of the weakening of its technopolitical regime, of how national institutions have governed Eskom’s technological development, and of the pursuit of political goals in the production of electrical power. Without a clear industrial strategy during the 2000s, Eskom became a powerful tool of Broad-Black Economic Empowerment as well as a neopatrimonial system which generates profits captured by the ruling party. As a result, crisis in Eskom shakes the whole political edifice. Inefficient and its finances increasingly under scrutiny, this state-owned enterprise’s existence as a monopolistic public utility is regularly a subject of debate. The authors discuss the ambivalent role of Eskom in the national energy transition policy and whether solutions point in the direction of de-integrating this public monopoly and allowing its current technopolitical regime to enter a planned or natural decline.

Hydraulic City

Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai

Author: Nikhil Anand

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373599

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 4934

In Hydraulic City Nikhil Anand explores the politics of Mumbai's water infrastructure to demonstrate how citizenship emerges through the continuous efforts to control, maintain, and manage the city's water. Through extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Mumbai's settlements, Anand found that Mumbai's water flows, not through a static collection of pipes and valves, but through a dynamic infrastructure built on the relations between residents, plumbers, politicians, engineers, and the 3,000 miles of pipe that bind them. In addition to distributing water, the public water network often reinforces social identities and the exclusion of marginalized groups, as only those actively recognized by city agencies receive legitimate water services. This form of recognition—what Anand calls "hydraulic citizenship"—is incremental, intermittent, and reversible. It provides residents an important access point through which they can make demands on the state for other public services such as sanitation and education. Tying the ways Mumbai's poorer residents are seen by the state to their historic, political, and material relations with water pipes, the book highlights the critical role infrastructures play in consolidating civic and social belonging in the city.

Government of Paper

The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan

Author: Matthew Stuart Hull

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520272145

Category: Social Science

Page: 301

View: 6777

"Drawing inspiration from actor-network theory, science studies, and semiotics, this brilliant book makes us completely rethink the workings of bureaucracy as analyzed by Max Weber and James Scott. Matthew Hull demonstrates convincingly how the materiality of signs truly matters for understanding the projects of 'the state.'" - Katherine Verdery, author of "What was Socialism, and What Comes Next?" "We are used to studies of roads and rails as central material infrastructure for the making of modern states. But what of records, the reams and reams of paper that inscribe the state-in-making? This brilliant book inquires into the materiality of information in colonial and postcolonial Pakistan. This is a work of signal importance for our understanding of the everyday graphic artifacts of authority." - Bill Maurer, author of "Mutual Life, Limited: Islamic Banking, Alternative Currencies, Lateral Reason" "This is an excellent and truly exceptional ethnography. Hull presents a theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich reading that will be an invaluable resource to scholars in the field of Anthropology and South Asian studies. The author's focus on bureaucracy, "corruption," writing systems and urban studies (Islamabad) in a post-colonial context makes for a unique ethnographic engagement with contemporary Pakistan. In addition, Hull's study is a refreshing voice that breaks the mold of current representation of Pakistan through the security studies paradigm." - Kamran Asdar Ali, Director, South Asia Institute, University of Texas

Endangered City

The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá

Author: Austin Zeiderman

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822374188

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 8777

Security and risk have become central to how cities are planned, built, governed, and inhabited in the twenty-first century. In Endangered City, Austin Zeiderman focuses on this new political imperative to govern the present in anticipation of future harm. Through ethnographic fieldwork and archival research in Bogotá, Colombia, he examines how state actors work to protect the lives of poor and vulnerable citizens from a range of threats, including environmental hazards and urban violence. By following both the governmental agencies charged with this mandate and the subjects governed by it, Endangered City reveals what happens when logics of endangerment shape the terrain of political engagement between citizens and the state. The self-built settlements of Bogotá’s urban periphery prove a critical site from which to examine the rising effect of security and risk on contemporary cities and urban life.

Marginal Gains

Monetary Transactions in Atlantic Africa

Author: Jane I. Guyer

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226311159

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 207

View: 8112

In America, almost all the money in circulation passes through financial institutions every day. But in Nigeria's "cash and carry" system, 90 percent of the currency never comes back to a bank after it's issued. What happens when two such radically different economies meet and mingle, as they have for centuries in Atlantic Africa? The answer is a rich diversity of economic practices responsive to both local and global circumstances. In Marginal Gains, Jane I. Guyer explores and explains these often bewildering practices, including trade with coastal capitalism and across indigenous currency zones, and within the modern popular economy. Drawing on a wide range of evidence, Guyer demonstrates that the region shares a coherent, if loosely knit, commercial culture. She shows how that culture actually works in daily practice, addressing both its differing scales of value and the many settings in which it operates, from crisis conditions to ordinary household budgets. The result is a landmark study that reveals not just how popular economic systems work in Africa, but possibly elsewhere in the Third World.

Aramis, or, The love of technology

Author: Bruno Latour

Publisher: Harvard Univ Pr

ISBN: N.A

Category: History

Page: 314

View: 8790

Bruno Latour has written a unique and wonderful tale of a technological dream gone wrong. As the young engineer and professor follow Aramis' trail--conducting interviews, analyzing documents, assessing the evidence--perspectives keep shifting: the truth is revealed as multilayered, unascertainable, comprising an array of possibilities worthy of Rashomon. The reader is eventually led to see the project from the point of view of Aramis, and along the way gains insight into the relationship between human beings and their technological creations. This charming and profound book, part novel and part sociological study, is Latour at his thought-provoking best.

Insurgent Citizenship

Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil

Author: James Holston

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691142904

Category: Political Science

Page: 396

View: 2198

Insurgent citizenships have arisen in cities around the world. This book examines the insurgence of democratic citizenship in the urban peripheries of São Paulo, Brazil, its entanglement with entrenched systems of inequality, and its contradiction in violence. James Holston argues that for two centuries Brazilians have practiced a type of citizenship all too common among nation-states--one that is universally inclusive in national membership and massively inegalitarian in distributing rights and in its legalization of social differences. But since the 1970s, he shows, residents of Brazil's urban peripheries have formulated a new citizenship that is destabilizing the old. Their mobilizations have developed not primarily through struggles of labor but through those of the city--particularly illegal residence, house building, and land conflict. Yet precisely as Brazilians democratized urban space and achieved political democracy, violence, injustice, and impunity increased dramatically. Based on comparative, ethnographic, and historical research, Insurgent Citizenship reveals why the insurgent and the entrenched remain dangerously conjoined as new kinds of citizens expand democracy even as new forms of violence and exclusion erode it. Rather than view this paradox as evidence of democratic failure and urban chaos, Insurgent Citizenship argues that contradictory realizations of citizenship characterize all democracies--emerging and established. Focusing on processes of city- and citizen-making now prevalent globally, it develops new approaches for understanding the contemporary course of democratic citizenship in societies of vastly different cultures and histories.

The Rule of Freedom

Liberalism and the Modern City

Author: Patrick Joyce

Publisher: Verso

ISBN: 9781859845202

Category: History

Page: 276

View: 2147

The liberal governance of the nineteenth-century state and city depended on the "rule of freedom". As a form of rule it relied on the production of certain kinds of citizens and patterns of social life, which in turn depended on transforming both the material form of the city (its layout, architecture, infrastructure) and the ways it was inhabited and imagined by its leaders, citizens and custodians. Focusing mainly on London and Manchester, but with reference also to Glasgow, Dublin, Paris, Vienna, colonial India, and even contemporary Los Angeles, Patrick Joyce creatively and originally develops Foucauldian approaches to historiography to reflect on the nature of modern liberal society. His consideration of such "artifacts" as maps and censuses, sewers and markets, public libraries and parks, and of civic governments and city planning, are intertwined with theoretical interpretations to examine both the impersonal, often invisible forms of social direction and control built into the infrastructure of modern life and the ways in which these mechanisms both shape culture and social life and engender popular resistance.

Power from the North

Territory, Identity, and the Culture of Hydroelectricity in Quebec

Author: Caroline Desbiens

Publisher: UBC Press

ISBN: 0774824190

Category: History

Page: 312

View: 2081

In the 1970s, Hydro-Qubec declared in a publicity campaign "We Are Hydro-Qubcois." The slogan symbolized the intimate ties that had emerged between hydroelectric development in Northern Quebec and French Canadian national aspirations. Caroline Desbiens focuses on the first phase of the James Bay hydroelectric project to explore how this culture of hydroelectricity marginalized Aboriginal territories through the manipulation of Northern Quebec's material landscape. She concludes that truly sustainable resource development will depend on all actors bringing an awareness of their cultural histories and visions of nature, North, and nation to the negotiating table.

Pipe Politics, Contested Waters

Embedded Infrastructures of Millennial Mumbai

Author: Lisa Björkman

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822375214

Category: History

Page: 296

View: 2768

Winner, 2014 Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences Despite Mumbai's position as India's financial, economic, and cultural capital, water is chronically unavailable for rich and poor alike. Mumbai's dry taps are puzzling, given that the city does not lack for either water or financial resources. In Pipe Politics, Contested Waters, Lisa Björkman shows how an elite dream to transform Mumbai into a "world class" business center has wreaked havoc on the city’s water pipes. In rich ethnographic detail, Pipe Politics explores how the everyday work of getting water animates and inhabits a penumbra of infrastructural activity—of business, brokerage, secondary markets, and sociopolitical networks—whose workings are reconfiguring and rescaling political authority in the city. Mumbai’s increasingly illegible and volatile hydrologies, Björkman argues, are lending infrastructures increasing political salience just as actual control over pipes and flows becomes contingent on dispersed and intimate assemblages of knowledge, power, and material authority. These new arenas of contestation reveal the illusory and precarious nature of the project to remake Mumbai in the image of Shanghai or Singapore and gesture instead toward the highly contested futures and democratic possibilities of the actually existing city.

Roads

An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise

Author: Penny Harvey,Hannah Knox

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 0801456452

Category: Social Science

Page: 264

View: 7647

Roads matter to people. This claim is central to the work of Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox, who in this book use the example of highway building in South America to explore what large public infrastructural projects can tell us about contemporary state formation, social relations, and emerging political economies. Roads focuses on two main sites: the interoceanic highway currently under construction between Brazil and Peru, a major public/private collaboration that is being realized within new, internationally ratified regulatory standards; and a recently completed one-hundred-kilometer stretch of highway between Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon, and a small town called Nauta, one of the earliest colonial settlements in the Amazon. The Iquitos-Nauta highway is one of the most expensive roads per kilometer on the planet. Combining ethnographic and historical research, Harvey and Knox shed light on the work of engineers and scientists, bureaucrats and construction company officials. They describe how local populations anticipated each of the road projects, even getting deeply involved in questions of exact routing as worries arose that the road would benefit some more than others. Connectivity was a key recurring theme as people imagined the prosperity that will come by being connected to other parts of the country and with other parts of the world. Sweeping in scope and conceptually ambitious, Roads tells a story of global flows of money, goods, and people—and of attempts to stabilize inherently unstable physical and social environments.

The Road

Author: Dimitris Dalakoglou

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 1526109344

Category:

Page: 216

View: 1612

This book is an ethnographic and historical study of the main Albania-Greece highway. But more than an ethnography on the road, it is an anthropology of the road. Highways are part of an explicit cultural-material nexus that includes houses, urban architecture and vehicles. Complex socio-political phenomena such as EU border security, nationalist politics, post-Cold War capitalism and financial crises all leave their mark in the concrete. This book explores anew classical anthropological and sociological categories of analysis in direct reference to infrastructure, providing unique insights into the political and cultural processes that took place across Europe after the Cold War. More specifically, it sheds light on political and economic relationships in the Balkans during the socialist post-Cold War period, focusing especially on Albania, one of the most under-researched countries in the region.

In the Public's Interest

Evictions, Citizenship, and Inequality in Contemporary Delhi

Author: Gautam Bhan

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820350095

Category: Political Science

Page: 290

View: 3435

This book studies the recent legacy of basti "evictions" in Delhi--mass clearings of some of the city's poorest neighborhoods as a way to understand how the urban poor are disenfranchised in the name of "public interest" and, in the case of Delhi, by the very courts meant to empower and protect them. Studying bastis, says Gautam Bhan, provokes six clear lines of inquiry applicable to studies of urbanism across the global south. The first is the long-standing debate over urban informality and illegality: the debate's impact on conceptions and practices of urban planning, the production of space, and the regulation of value. The second is a set of debates on "good governance," read through their intersections with ideas of "planned development" within rapidly transforming cities. The third is the political field of urban citizenship and the possibilities of substantive rights and belonging in the city. The fourth is resistance and the ability of a city's subaltern residents to struggle against exclusion. The two remaining inquiries both cut across and unify the first four. One of these is the role of the judiciary and the relationships between law and urbanism in cities of the global south. The other is the relationship between democracy and inequality in the city. What emerges about Delhi in particular is a multilayered double standard in attention to, and enforcement of, property laws. Rights are lost, citizenship is unequal and differentiated, the promise of development is refused, and poverty and inequality are reproduced and deepened. The task at hand, says Bhan, is not just to explain evictions but also to listen to what they are telling us about "the city that is as well as the city that can be."

Monrovia Modern

Urban Form and Political Imagination in Liberia

Author: Danny Hoffman

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373084

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 5296

In Monrovia Modern Danny Hoffman uses the ruins of four iconic modernist buildings in Monrovia, Liberia, as a way to explore the relationship between the built environment and political imagination. Hoffman shows how the E. J. Roye tower and the Hotel Africa luxury resort, as well as the unfinished Ministry of Defense and Liberia Broadcasting System buildings, transformed during the urban warfare of the 1990s from symbols of the modernist project of nation-building to reminders of the challenges Monrovia's residents face. The transient lives of these buildings' inhabitants, many of whom are ex-combatants, prevent them from making place-based claims to a right to the city and hinder their ability to think of ways to rebuild and repurpose their built environment. Featuring nearly 100 of Hoffman's color photographs, Monrovia Modern is situated at the intersection of photography, architecture, and anthropology, mapping out the possibilities and limits for imagining an urban future in Monrovia and beyond.

Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon

Infrastructures, Public Services, and Power

Author: Joanne Nucho

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9780691168975

Category: Political Science

Page: 192

View: 4423

What causes violent conflicts around the Middle East? All too often, the answer is sectarianism--popularly viewed as a timeless and intractable force that leads religious groups to conflict. In Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon, Joanne Nucho shows how wrong this perspective can be. Through in-depth research with local governments, NGOs, and political parties in Beirut, she demonstrates how sectarianism is actually recalibrated on a daily basis through the provision of essential services and infrastructures, such as electricity, medical care, credit, and the planning of bridges and roads. Taking readers to a working-class, predominantly Armenian suburb in northeast Beirut called Bourj Hammoud, Nucho conducts extensive interviews and observations in medical clinics, social service centers, shops, banking coops, and municipal offices. She explores how group and individual access to services depends on making claims to membership in the dominant sectarian community, and she examines how sectarianism is not just tied to ethnoreligious identity, but also class, gender, and geography. Life in Bourj Hammoud makes visible a broader pattern in which the relationships that develop while procuring basic needs become a way for people to see themselves as part of the greater public. Illustrating how sectarianism in Lebanon is not simply about religious identity, as is commonly thought, Everyday Sectarianism in Urban Lebanon offers a new look at how everyday social exchanges define and redefine communities and conflicts.

Film Festivals and Anthropology

Author: Aida Vallejo,María-Paz Peirano

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing

ISBN: 144387471X

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 363

View: 945

This collection explores the intersections between anthropology and film festival studies. Film and anthropology scholars map ethnographic film festivals and ethnographic approaches to festivals worldwide. The book provides a historical reconstruction of most of the main festivals exhibiting ethnographic film, considering the parallel evolution of programming and organisational practices across the globe. It also addresses the great value and challenges of ethnographic research tools for studying the wide-ranging field of film festivals. This volume is the first to collect long-term experiences of curating and exhibiting ethnographic film, as well as new approaches to the understanding of film festival practices. Its contributions reflect on curatorial practices within visual anthropology and their implications for ethnographic filmmaking, and they shed light on problems of cultural translation, funding, festival audiences and the institutionalisation of ethnographic cinema. The book offers a novel perspective on film festivals as showcases for cinema, socio-cultural hubs and distribution nodes. Aimed at anthropologists, media scholars, festival organisers and documentary film professionals, it offers a starting point for the study of ethnographic film exhibition within its cultural and social contexts.

The Promise of Infrastructure

Author: Nikhil Anand,Akhil Gupta,Hannah Appel

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 1478002034

Category: Social Science

Page: 264

View: 8048

From U.S.-Mexico border walls to Flint's poisoned pipes, there is a new urgency to the politics of infrastructure. Roads, electricity lines, water pipes, and oil installations promise to distribute the resources necessary for everyday life. Yet an attention to their ongoing processes also reveals how infrastructures are made with fragile and often violent relations among people, materials, and institutions. While infrastructures promise modernity and development, their breakdowns and absences reveal the underbelly of progress, liberal equality, and economic growth. This tension, between aspiration and failure, makes infrastructure a productive location for social theory. Contributing to the everyday lives of infrastructure across four continents, some of the leading anthropologists of infrastructure demonstrate in The Promise of Infrastructure how these more-than-human assemblages made over more-than-human lifetimes offer new opportunities to theorize time, politics, and promise in the contemporary moment. Contributors Nikhil Anand, Hannah Appel, Geoffrey C. Bowker, Dominic Boyer, Akhil Gupta, Penny Harvey, Brian Larkin, Christina Schwenkel, Antina von Schnitzler

Planning Matter

Acting with Things

Author: Robert A. Beauregard

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022629742X

Category: Architecture

Page: 272

View: 7961

City and regional planners talk constantly about the things of the world—from highway interchanges and retention ponds to zoning documents and conference rooms—yet most seem to have a poor understanding of the materiality of the world in which they’re immersed. Too often planners treat built forms, weather patterns, plants, animals, or regulatory technologies as passively awaiting commands rather than actively involved in the workings of cities and regions. In the ambitious and provocative Planning Matter, Robert A. Beauregard sets out to offer a new materialist perspective on planning practice that reveals the many ways in which the nonhuman things of the world mediate what planners say and do. Drawing on actor-network theory and science and technology studies, Beauregard lays out a framework that acknowledges the inevitable insufficiency of our representations of reality while also engaging more holistically with the world in all of its diversity—including human and nonhuman actors alike.

Kinshasa

Tales of the Invisible City

Author: Filip De Boeck,Marie-Françoise Plissart

Publisher: Leuven University Press

ISBN: 9058679675

Category: Social Science

Page: 288

View: 5920

Reading African cities into contemporary theory—reprint of a richly illustrated reference work In their internationally acclaimed publication Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City, anthropologist Filip De Boeck and photographer Marie-Françoise Plissart provide a history not only of the physical and visible urban reality that Kinshasa presents today, but also of a second, invisible city as it exists in the mind and imagination of its inhabitants. They bring to light a mirroring reality lurking underneath the surface of the visible world and explore the constant transactions that take place between these two levels in Kinshasa’s urban scape. With the exhibition that accompanied the release of their Kinshasa book, the authors won a Golden Lion at the 11th International Architecture Bienniale in Venice, 2004. This beautifully illustrated publication is now again made available. Based on longstanding field research, it provides insight into local social and cultural imaginaries, and thus in the imaginative ways in which local urban subjects continue to make sense of their worlds and invent cultural strategies to cope with the breakdown of urban infrastructure.