This article tracks the political effects of documents produced in relation to a public infrastructure project in the Peruvian Andes. By contrast with the recent focus on bureaucratic documents as aesthetic artefacts and instances of institutional form, I attend to the political processes enacted through project papers, exploring how their relational, material, affective and referential dimensions opened up spaces of political experimentation. In particular, I suggest that the power of documents to mediate the regulatory ambiguities incurred by Peru's ongoing decentralization lies partly in their capacity to espouse normative formality whilst always hinting at the possibility of its undoing.
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Papering Over the Gaps
Documents, Infrastructure and Political Experimentation in Highland Peru
Index Insurance and the Global Circuits of Climate Risks in Senegal
Sara Angeli Aguiton
In recent years, Senegal’s developed a program of index insurance to cover farmers from economic losses due to drought. I investigate this emerging market in light of Jane Guyer’s question: “What is a ‘risk’ as a transacted ‘thing’?” To grasp the social practices required to make “rainfall deficit” a transferable risk, I explore the climate and market infrastructure that brings it into existence and follows actors who function as brokers allowing the risk to circulate from Senegalese fields to the global reinsurance industry. I show that the strategies set up to convince farmers to integrate a green and rational capitalist management of climate risks are very fragile, and the index insurance program only endures because it is embedded in the broader political economy of rural development based on debt and international aid.
Reflections on an Ethnographic Study of Chinese Infrastructural Projects in Mozambique and Mongolia
Morten Axel Pedersen and Morten Nielsen
Based on two case studies of Chinese infrastructural interventions in Mozambique and in Mongolia, this article introduces the notion of 'trans-temporal hinge' as a heuristic methodological concept that brings together phenomena and events otherwise distributed across time. The authors explore envelopes used when paying Mozambican workers at a construction site in Maputo and roads dividing Chinese oil workers and local nomads in southern and eastern Mongolia as concrete manifestations of trans-temporal hinges. In exploring the temporal properties of these phenomena, we define the trans-temporal hinge as a gathering point in which different temporalities are momentarily assembled. As an analytical scale derived from a specific ethnographic context, we argue that the trans-temporal hinge provides a novel and, quite literally, timely conceptual invention compared with other recent methods of anthropological knowledge production, such as multi-sited fieldwork.
Central American integration through infrastructure development
A case study of Costa Rican hydropower
Denielle M. Perry and Kate A. Berry
production ( Hira, 2003 ). Moreover, without reliable electrical infrastructure, industrial demands for other infrastructure are greatly reduced. This article examines the development of integrated infrastructure for electricity within the framework of
Mobilities and the Multinatural
A Test Case in India
preoccupation with technological, infrastructural, and the human-made world. But could they instead be the centerpieces of mobilities research? A deeper question here is: Beyond incidental and circumstantial encounters with humans as they move, how can
Lines in the Sacred Landscape
The Entanglement of Roads, Resources, and Informal Practices in Buriatiia
“before the road” and “after the road.” This article shows how the newly built infrastructures become a part of sacred relations between the residents and their land, questioning the divide between physical and built environment. When dwelling in the
primary mode of social organization nor the motor of production before the collapse of the Soviet Union. This history is important to recognize because socialist governments were known for their substantial investments in social infrastructure, especially
Drawing upon ethnographic data, this article investigates the effects of a new online campus management system in one of the largest universities in Germany. It shows the various ways in which this technological innovation influenced students', teachers' and administrative personnel's relations and everyday working practices and how it is influential in the reorganisation of university structures. The online management system is regarded as an important part of an emerging infrastructure of excellence, which materialises the changing understanding of qualitative studies and teaching. Findings show that the online management supports standardised and economised study, teaching and administrative practices and silences creativity and flexibility. However, these standardisations are negotiated and questioned by the actors involved.
Struggling for public electricity in postapartheid Johannesburg
millennium led to the formation of an infrastructural activism against cost-recovery measures by the state-owned delivery company. Throughout the city's townships, self-proclaimed “struggle technicians” bypass meters with improvised electricity connections
Becoming an Agricultural Growth Corridor
African Megaprojects at a Situated Scale
Serena Stein and Marc Kalina
Nacala. As part of the Nacala Development Corridor (NDC), a multi-sectoral infrastructural megaproject linking Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique, Malema sits at the nexus of regional developmental ambitions. Within its dusty and bustling central market, this