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The anthropology of infrastructure

The boom and the bubble?

Natalia Buier

The anthropology of infrastructure: The boom and the bubble? The recent popularity of the term infrastructure in anthropology would not surprise anyone surveying conference programs or tables of contents. As commentators have noticed, “across

Open access

Malfunctioning Affective Infrastructures

How the “Broken” Road Becomes a Site of Belonging in Postindustrial Eastern Siberia

Vasilina Orlova

infrastructure possesses a particular affective power. The way the road is a center of contesting contexts is exacerbated by the absence of central electricity and mobile phone towers in the vicinity; thus, the infrastructural systems interconnect as an

Open access

Neglected Transportation Infrastructure

Corporate Social Responsibility and the Russian State in a Small Siberian Oil Town

Gertrude Saxinger, Natalia Krasnoshtanova, and Gertraud Illmeier

good transport infrastructure on the part of the state and the companies, including the maintenance of roads or public transport provision. Throughout this article, we explore the relationship between CSR and the wellbeing of individuals and communities

Open access

Leapfrogging the Grid

Off-grid Solar, Self-reliance and the Market in Tanzania

Tom Neumark

call nishati ya kujitegemea – self-reliant or independent energy. 2 Since the early studies of large-scale socio-technical systems ( Bijker and Law 1992 ), infrastructures have proven to be productive objects for social scientific reflection. Those

Open access

Gareth E. Hamilton

to be heroic in any way. For me, however, this time issue is principally that of travel time and related comfort, and how this relates to questions of infrastructural development in the past and the future, especially for travel to and from Latvia, as

Open access

Ruin of Empire

The Uganda Railway and Memory Work in Kenya

Norman Aselmeyer

Kenya's official languages: English, Kiswahili, and Silence. There was also memory. — Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor 1 When Kenya went to the polls in 2017, the reelection bid of the ruling coalition centered on the infrastructure projects

Open access

Michael Alexander Ulfstjerne

revitalisation of tradition do more than bring out what is there. They move, they become infrastructures, they point ahead. This did not go unnoticed. The Scientific Counsel in Denmark has recently financed a project meant to explore how we can build off the

Open access

(Re)Constructing the Baikal-Amur Mainline

Continuity and Change of (Post)Socialist Infrastructure

Olga Povoroznyuk

promises of modernity. By the end of the construction, however, which almost coincides with the end of the socialist era, economic bust, infrastructural decline, public disillusionment and criticism clouded the BAM project. The 1990s were marked by the

Open access

Crafting Spaces of Value

Infrastructure, Technologies of Extraction and Contested Oil in Nigeria

Omolade Adunbi

how oil infrastructures have become a contested field between the state, multinational oil corporations and local youth in what I call a ‘new oil frontier’. My central argument is that artisanal refineries are indicative of the politics of crude oil

Open access

Promising pipelines and hydrocarbon nationalism

The sociality of unbuilt infrastructure in indigenous Siberia

Gertjan Plets

By analysing how shamanist nomads who previously opposed large infrastructure works have suddenly become enchanted by the prospect of the construction of a large gas pipeline, this paper ethnographically investigates how technology and infrastructure become perceived as promising by ordinary people on the ground in post‐Soviet Siberia. Drawing attention to the discursive impact of large gas corporations and the role of deeply embedded Soviet conceptions of modernity in filling pipelines with cultural meaning, this paper provides unique insights into the highly localised engagements with infrastructure. As such, this paper contributes to the anthropology of Russia, where infrastructure has only recently received academic attention. It also corresponds to the ‘infrastructural turn’ in anthropology by studying the social, cultural and material conditions ensuring that infrastructure becomes perceived as promising. Furthermore, this paper explores the significant impact of ancillary infrastructures connected to a construction project in entangling people with technology and infrastructure.