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Air in Unexpected Places

Metabolism, Design, and the Making of an ‘African’ Aircrete

Michael Degani

, colonial extraction and ecological violence. Infrastructure as metabolism At first glance, an ethnographic case study on a building material might seem at odds with a volume devoted to energy frontiers. Built structures, after all, are important

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Andrey Vozyanov

Crises in urban electric transport infrastructure of Eastern and Southeastern Europe present not only a fruitful subject for historical, ethnographic, and sociological inquiry, but also contribute to two intersecting knowledge fields. First, to the multidisciplinary constellation of studies dedicated to failures of sociotechnical systems that I will refer to as disaster and crisis studies. And second, to social studies of urban transit in the former Socialist Bloc, a subfield within broader mobility and transport studies. In this text I will review the state of both these fields and then proceed to conceptualize the intersections between them, proposing historical anthropology as an integration tool. In the process I will occasionally refer to my fieldwork in Donbas, Ukraine, from 2011 to 2013, and eastern Romania since 2015.

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The Freeway Journey

Landscape and Mobility in the Southern Auto Industry

John E. Mohr

automotive industry,” which has “long delivered the right resources and talent to help companies thrive.” 25 Observers put the total value of the state and local incentives in the deal at $410 million, which included property tax abatements, infrastructure

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Carlos A. Rodríguez Wallenius


This article analyzes the extractivist and dispossession modalities in the Mexican neodevelopmental proposal to face the multiple crises accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the qualitative narrative method applied to social processes, four infrastructure and extractivist megaprojects are analyzed. Neodevelopmental policies of the current government insist on carrying out works as a strategy to create jobs, reactivate the economy, and promote well-being, especially for the southeast region with high rates of socioeconomic inequality. The findings point to an increase in investment and job creation and a rejection by various communities and organizations that consider that their ways of life are being threatened by the efforts of the neodevelopmental government to build megaprojects before and during the pandemic.


Este artículo analiza las modalidades extractivistas y de despojo en la propuesta neodesarrollista mexicana para enfrentar las crisis múltiples acentuadas por la pandemia de la COVID-19. Con el método cualitativo narrativo aplicado a procesos sociales, se analizan cuatro megaproyectos de infraestructura y extractivistas. Las políticas neodesarrollistas del gobierno actual insisten en realizar obras como una estrategia para crear empleos, reactivar la economía y fomentar el bienestar, especialmente para la región sureste con altos índices de desigualdad socioeconómica. Los hallazgos señalan un incremento en la inversión y en la generación de empleos pero también un rechazo de varias comunidades y organizaciones que consideran que sus formas de vida están siendo amenazadas frente a los esfuerzos del gobierno neodesarrollista por construir megaproyectos antes y durante la pandemia.


Cet article analyse les modalités extractivistes et de dépossession incluses dans la proposition néo-développementaliste mexicaine afin de faire face aux crises multiples accentuées par la pandémie de Covid-19. Avec la méthode narrative qualitative appliquée aux processus sociaux, quatre mégaprojets d'infrastructures et d'extraction sont analysés. Les politiques néo-développementalistes du gouvernement actuel insistent sur la réalisation de travaux comme stratégie pour créer des emplois, réactiver l'économie et promouvoir le bien-être, en particulier pour la région du sud-est qui connaît des taux élevés d'inégalités socio-économiques. Les résultats indiquent une augmentation des investissements et de la création d'emplois, mais aussi un rejet de la part de diverses communautés et organisations qui considèrent que leurs modes de vie sont menacés par les efforts du gouvernement néo-développementaliste pour construire des mégaprojets avant et pendant la pandémie.

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Liquid crystal and the A1

Densities of state from the perspective of a Montenegrin village

Klāvs Sedlenieks

In this paper I argue that the state is best imagined through the metaphor of a liquid crystal – a substance that, at the same time, is both structured and fluid. I combine several well‐established views on the state (as an entity that has structure, but that also needs movement), and demonstrate that the state comes into being not only through vertical (and hence hierarchical) activities, but also through multiple other attempts to build transparency and predictability. A three‐dimensional liquid crystal can be used as a model of the state that not only has structures shaped by multiple participants, but that also is partly an illusion where various centres only appear to group in a meaningful way. In the second half of the paper, I illustrate this liquid crystal metaphor of the state by using an ethnographic snapshot of Njeguši, a small village in Montenegro. Variously (un)successful attempts of villagers and other actors to shape the new road show how the liquid crystal areas are being initiated, sustained and interpreted, thus contributing to the shape the state is brought into being.

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Carrie A. Rentschler

Young feminists use social media in order to respond to rape culture and to hold accountable the purveyors of its practices and ways of thinking when mainstream news media, police and school authorities do not. This article analyzes how social networks identified with young feminists take shape via social media responses to sexual violence, and how those networks are organized around the conceptual framework of rape culture. Drawing on the concept of response-ability, the article analyzes how recent social media responses to rape culture evidence the affective and technocultural nature of current feminist network building and the ways this online criticism re-imagines the position of feminist witnesses to rape culture.

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Agnieszka Joniak-Lüthi

Hannah Appel, Nikhil Anand and Akhil Gupta (eds), The Promise of Infrastructure . Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 264, 2018. Ignaz Strebel, Alain Bovet and Philippe Sormani (eds), Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown

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(Dis)Connected Rail

Infrastructural Suspension and Phatic Politics in Romania

Adrian Deoancă

infrastructures as privileged loci where the relationship between people and otherwise abstract state and supra-state entities is materialized, as means by which citizenship is offered or denied. Promises of modernization can mobilize senses of desire and pride

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Infrastructures of Certainty and Doubt

Matthew Carey and Morten Axel Pedersen

interactions that sustain uncertainty is briefly evoked, but the complex, patterned and structured forms that underpin or enable certainty and doubt – what we might call their ‘infrastructures’ – are given short thrift. Perhaps the work that comes closest to