A “becoming logistical” of anthropology?

in Focaal
Author: Geoffrey Aung1
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Abstract

Dua, Jatin. 2019. Captured at sea: Piracy and protection in the Indian Ocean. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Appel, Hannah. 2019. The licit life of capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2018. Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Dua, Jatin. 2019. Captured at sea: Piracy and protection in the Indian Ocean. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

Appel, Hannah. 2019. The licit life of capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2018. Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

“But the chief thing about Melville's crew is that they work,” C. L. R James (1953: 29) wrote in the early 1950s, reflecting on Moby-Dick. James's comment draws the attention of Allan Sekula (1995) in Fish story, Sekula's magisterial account of logistics, shipping, and the ocean in global capitalism. Striking, for Sekula, about James's study of Moby-Dick, is his disinterest in allegorical or psychoanalytic readings of Ahab and his crew. For James, the Pequod is a workplace, prone to the unruliness of worker solidarity and revolt. Yet in the early postwar years, Sekula observes, the opposite image flitted across the dreams of the shipping industry's experts: a dream of ships without workers, prefigured in the hulking outlines of the increasingly automated oil tanker. If modern logistics founds itself upon a vision of transcending human labor power—a fantasy of the automatic subject, as Stefano Harney and Fred Moten (2013) note by way of Marx1—then what might it mean to track the human and human labor power in and around logistics today?

Three recent ethnographies take up logistics’ fraught relation to the human in different ways, to varying degrees. Jatin Dua (2019) examines piracy, protection economies, and regulation around the shipping corridors off the coast of Somalia. Hannah Appel (2019) considers offshore oil production and capitalism's reproduction within the operations of US oil companies in Equatorial Guinea. Claudio Sopranzetti (2018) probes why and how motorcycle taxi drivers became important political actors during the Red Shirt protests in Bangkok in 2010. Each study confirms that the fantasy of the automatic subject is just that: a fantasy. Shipping, the oil industry, and urban transport are all key sites of logistical coordination and circulation. In these ethnographies, they all come across as densely interwoven with quotidian life and labor, even as they remain vulnerable to spectacular human interventions: pirates capturing ships, or taxi drivers blockading intersections.

But these studies do more than insist on the social life of logistics, whether mundane or eventful. They also open up certain questions regarding the anthropology of logistics, a research area that has become more defined in recent years through prominent workshops, innovative research projects, and the rise of platform economies, discussed in Jane Guyer's (2016) thought-provoking volume on emergent forms of capitalism.2 To be sure, this is an area of work that remains inchoate, yet it is one that might push forward, even radicalize, anthropology's pronounced attention to a similar kind of research object over the last decade and more: infrastructure. Two sets of questions present themselves.

First, anthropology's “infrastructural turn” advances a core common sense: the notion that infrastructure, fundamentally, enables the exchange of people, things, and ideas across distance, forming relations that make possible new social, economic, and political orders (Easterling 2014; Graham and Marvin 1996, 2001; Larkin 2008, 2013; Lefebvre 1991). By contrast, recent critical logistics scholarship from beyond anthropology turns away from this emphasis on exchange and connectivity. This work understands logistics not only as a site of social and economic integration, but also, and in some ways more urgently, as an often-turbulent locus of capital mobility, violence, and supply chain securitization, aggravating patterns of uneven development (Chua et al. 2018; Cowen 2014; Khalili 2020; Mezzadra and Neilson 2019). Along these lines, is it possible that an emergent anthropology of logistics might return questions of conflict, contestation, and uneven development to the study of infrastructure in anthropology?

A second set of questions takes the first set further. Sandro Mezzadra and Brett Neilson (2013) have suggested that it is all too easy to reify logistics’ account of itself in terms of seamless flows, smooth interconnections, and spatial integration. Those moments of “opening” are important, they argue, but it is critical not to gloss over moments of “closure”: forms of contradiction and antagonism that are also crucial to capitalism's logistical operations. They share Harney's (2012) concern that network and assemblage theory register a “becoming logistical of philosophy” that simply follows logistics’ own fantasy. In anthropology, actor-network theory and assemblage have long been central analytics, cutting across prominent research on trade, infrastructure, and technopolitics, among other topics (Anand 2017; Campbell 2021; Li 2007; Marcus and Saka 2006; Ong and Collier 2005; Rabinow 2003). Is there a similar risk of a “becoming logistical” of anthropology? How or to what extent is an emergent anthropology of logistics attending not only to moments of opening but also closure—moments of exchange and integration, but also conflict and antagonism?

It is a measure of logistics’ relative novelty as a research area, in anthropology, that these three ethnographies of important logistical sites contain limited explicit discussion, much less theorization, of logistics as such. Of the three, Dua's (2019) Captured at sea: Piracy and protection in the Indian Ocean offers the most direct attention to logistics. Based on fieldwork in Somalia, Kenya, western India, the United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, and the United Kingdom, as well as on several container ships—a formidable geography of fieldwork, certainly—Dua's ethnography explores the spike in maritime piracy that occurred off Somalia's coasts between 2007 and 2012.

Dua's central provocation is that piracy is not best grasped in exceptional terms as hostis humani generis (the enemy of all humankind). Instead, acts of piracy—and pirates themselves—are part of economies of protection that have shaped, made possible, and regulated Indian Ocean trade for centuries, since well before the expansion of European empires across Asia and Africa. In this way, Dua locates the pirate within, rather than beyond, categories of law, economy, and the social. Or better, he renders these categories fluid through the figure of the pirate, who for him blurs the distinctions between legal and illegal, formal and informal, force and contract, and capture and captivity that constitute those categories in the first place. Piracy is not simply a matter of disrupting flows of trade. The “story of piracy,” rather, promises “an alternative form of connectivity and possibility” (Dua 2019: 22).

Dua foregrounds two such forms of connectivity. First, he shows how economic practices link piracy to land. Piracy is expensive, especially once, after 2008, it shifted from targeting Red Sea fishing boats to hijacking container ships in the Indian Ocean. This multimillion-dollar economy requires capital, collateral, and provisioning. Pirates and hostages need food and water, and pirates need khat, an addictive plant chewed for stimulant effects. Entrepreneurs offer loans and provisions, confident of repayment because pirates, “like everyone,” says one Somali shopkeeper, belong to kin-based diya groups that ensure repayment (ibid.: 68). Connecting lineages of common descent, diya groups typically spring into action when someone is injured or killed, guaranteeing compensation (diya payment) by pooling resources across households. Piracy depends on these practices. The pirate, for Dua, is always already a deeply socialized figure, tied to these worlds of social and economic obligation on land.

If the first set of connections concerns piracy, the second concerns counter-piracy. Moving between Delhi, the Gulf of Aden, and London, Dua examines naval operations and insurance companies, the one now policing shipping corridors at sea, the other protecting investments in ships and cargo from afar. Both, Dua stresses, are sites of tremendous logistical coordination. Working in concert, they cooperate to prevent and respond to hijackings at sea. In so doing, counter-piracy draws together force and contract, trade and cannon, in the regulation of global shipping, revealing the intimate ties between Somali pirates, naval armadas, and the circulation of goods and capital.

At stake is a whole reconstruction not only of Somali piracy, but Somalia and the Horn of Africa more broadly. For Dua, these are sites not of lack, failure, and crisis—a lawless land and failed state, beset by humanitarian crisis and intervention—but rather of powerful connections across space and time, from the intimacy of diya groups to long-distance trade over centuries. “[N]ationalism along the oceanic rim,” he writes, “built on claims to land, earth, and soil, turned its back to the Indian Ocean” (ibid.: 155). This “postcolonial lockdown,” he suggests, disavowed far too hastily “the cosmopolitan ethos of Indian Ocean commerce, a polyglot world built on the circulation of objects, peoples, and ideas” (ibid.: 153). Dua urges a return to the ethos of the ocean, where even pirates’ acts of disruption reflect and provoke surprising forms of connection.

Scholars of logistics might find Dua's ethnography unsettling. For he insists on locating piracy beyond disruption, representing it instead as a form of connection. He is not without his own contributions to identifying and theorizing bottlenecks, chokepoints, and circulation struggles in logistical networks—those paradigmatic sites of conflict, antagonism, and geographical unevenness in logistics scholarship (see Dua 2020). But here his emphasis is on connectivity, precisely the theme about which critical logistics scholarship raises important questions. In the case of piracy, Dua suggests, disruption is a predictable, too obvious analytic. Unlike with labor unrest in ports or warehouses, for example, where the fragility of supply chains can emerge suddenly and surprisingly, there is little unexpected about framing piracy as disruption. On the contrary, the dominant understanding of piracy is already in terms of disruption and disconnection, of exceptional interference—of hostis humani generis. More challenging is to reveal piracy as “an alternative system of connectivity” (Dua 2019: 5), forged through the ethos of the ocean.

Thus Dua brushes against the grain of scholarship in logistics. He is more intuitively aligned with the connective themes of anthropology's infrastructural turn, focusing on moments of opening more than closure, in Mezzadra and Neilson's terms, in the circulation of global capital. If his ethnography is, as it appears to be, the signal contribution to an emergent anthropology of logistics, then logistics does not necessarily ground a break with earlier research themes in anthropology. Rather, Dua presents a degree of continuity, even connectivity—fittingly enough.

Appel's (2019) The licit life of capitalism turns to another quintessential logistical site: the oil industry. As Laleh Khalili (2020) shows, the oil industry in the mid-twentieth century foreshadowed later changes in maritime logistics, with the automation of oil tankers, the enforcement of racialized labor hierarchies, and the blurring of boundaries between war and trade, conflict and capitalism—a turbulent relation that, indeed, captures Dua's attention, too. Appel, by contrast, attends less to the unruliness immanent to global capitalism, and more to the production and reproduction of capitalism's “licit life”: its appearance of being smooth, orderly, and rule-bound, made to seem “as if” it is standardized and replicable, disembedded from the messiness of the social. Tracking the operations of US oil companies working offshore of Equatorial Guinea, she addresses the work required for capitalism's appearance to cohere.

The monograph is organized around a series of—for Appel—general capitalist forms. “The offshore” and “the enclave” occupy the first third of the text. Appel makes a striking visit to an offshore rig; she describes the structure of the corporation that owns it; and she asks how managers, engineers, state officials, and workers understand offshore oil production. Equatoguineans see offshore production as protecting onshore life from environmental risks, while expat managers see offshore production as distancing the industry from the complications of the local. But maintaining the offshore takes work: painstaking work on the actual rigs, as well as the work of managers, accountants, and lawyers. They use the corporate form to attenuate liability, secure profit while limiting oversight, and manage questions of responsibility and sovereignty. The enclave, too, seeks disentanglement from the local. The companies’ private compounds are surreal reproductions of American suburbia, complete with single-family homes, landline phones with Texas area codes, and the corporate offices themselves. In her visits, Appel shows how the companies strive to separate corporate practice and domestic life—centered on heteronormative whiteness, as in the social lives of expatriate families—from their Equatoguinean setting. The enclaves emerge as technologies of racial segregation, evoking colonial settlements and company towns past.

Race and capital underpin the contract form, as well. For Appel, at issue is not whether contracts “really” secure equality before the law, but rather how they can so obviously organize inequality. Her answer is that contracts, like capitalism, do not simply create inequality. They are created from inequalities owing to ongoing forms of racialized dispossession and coloniality. Thus, in production sharing contracts, US oil companies and the Equatoguinean state hardly meet as equals. Nor do these companies and the Filipinos, primarily—but also Indians, Pakistanis, and Venezuelans, among others—whom they subcontract through “body shops” (labor brokers). These constitutive differences are central to how contracts work—and they do work, Appel insists—as “procedural cornerstones of this project we know as global capitalism” (2019: 171).

Throughout, Appel recognizes capitalism's “embodied frictions” (ibid.: 210): its messiness and disorder, its entanglements with the social, its raced, gendered, and colonial disparities. It is here, Appel suggests, that anthropological critique generally stops. She seeks to go further: to trace the work through which capitalism comes to displace, simplify, or smooth out these frictions, enough to reproduce itself across space and time. With the last objects of her attention—national economies and transparency—she maintains this approach. She tracks the performative work of a national economic conference, which helps produce the national economy as a serial form. It becomes comparable to others in a way that flattens “the radically unequal postcolonial order” (ibid.: 213) (see also Appel 2017). Transparency, similarly, promises an orderly capitalism: internally coherent, clear, and intelligible. Rather than rejecting transparency's false promises, Appel follows transparency politics through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). The EITI's shortcomings notwithstanding, she argues that it generated new possibilities for political dispute—crucially in a place “where politics cannot be spoken in public” (Appel 2019: 254).

Appel's scholarship has helped define anthropology's infrastructural turn (Appel 2012a, 2012b; Anand et al. 2018). Here, she expands her portrayal of oil not through money alone—the narrow prerogative of resource curse theories—but as an industry dependent on material infrastructures, racialized labor regimes, technical expertise, and capitalist fantasies. Network and assemblage theory remain central to her analytics, if less through science studies per se than in the work, especially, of Michel Callon and Timothy Mitchell, both of whom reframe understandings of markets and economy through actor-network theory (e.g., Callon 1998, 2007; Mitchell 2005, 2011). But in a departure for scholarship in this vein—a notable step forward—Appel integrates feminist political economy and Black radical thought, thinking markets, economy, and capitalism itself through their ongoing entanglements with race, gender, and empire.

Although it offers little overt discussion of logistics, Appel's study raises questions about how best to make sense of logistical circulation. Like Dua, she suggests that connective themes are crucial. For in following the production of oil from the seabed, to the rig, to the tanker, and to market—a supply chain that moves “as if” through seamless flows—Appel insists that it is not enough to point out that despite capitalist fantasies, the oil industry is embedded in social frictions, including onshore life in Equatorial Guinea. For her, that much is clear, especially with the substantivism that guides anthropological thought. What demands explanation, rather, is capitalism's fantasy: how the commodity “emerges ‘as if untouched’ by this friction” (Appel 2019: 22). This fantasy of seamless flow is arguably Appel's main research object. But where critical logistics scholars unmask that fantasy—pointing out its imbrications with social antagonisms, modern warfare, and geographies of uneven development—Appel stresses that the fantasy, too, still needs addressing, for the fantasy itself has effects in the world. This is what Appel means by tracing capitalism as a project: “to show how it is at once uneven, heterogeneous, and contested, and at the same time, proliferative, powerful, and systemic” (ibid.: 4).

If Dua and Appel center questions of connectivity—around logistical coordination and fantasies of seamlessness—then Sopranzetti's (2018) Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok moves toward questions of disruption. In this ethnography, motorcycle taxi drivers help blockade Bangkok's commercial center during one of the largest political mobilizations in Thai history: the Red Shirt protest movement of 2010. As with Appel's ethnography, Sopranzetti's affords limited explicit discussion of logistics, yet here too is a characteristic site of logistical circulation: urban transport and commercial exchange. And although blockages of circulation take center stage in this story, Sopranzetti is clear that it is drivers’ ability to move and move others—their importance as nodes of connection in and beyond urban Thailand—that enables them to shut down key spaces of urban circulation, and thus exert political force.

The monograph's early chapters introduce Bangkok's motorcycle taxi drivers. Sopranzetti explains the conditions of possibility for the rise of Bangkok's motorcycle taxis in the 1980s (in urban administration, migration from rural areas, the availability of affordable motorcycles, and the physical setting of Bangkok's alleys, or soi, which preclude a more extensive mass transport system). He follows drivers as they “weave the city together” (Sopranzetti 2018: 65) in the present, in social and economic terms: moving office workers on their commutes, doing favors for families and businesspeople in residential developments. He takes the train with a driver to Thailand's rural northeast—where many drivers’ families reside—showing how drivers bridge rural and urban, not least through income remittances, while also reinscribing these spaces “at opposite ends of the spectrum of development and modernity” (ibid.: 90–91). This tension, he suggests, helps explain how drivers became urban conduits for political discontent in the countryside: they connect rural and urban while remaining intensely aware of their differences.

The later chapters turn to the explosion of that discontent in the Red Shirt movement. Thousands upon thousands of people from rural Thailand descended on Bangkok in 2010, occupying strategic intersections, calling for new elections, and demanding an end to inequality. Sopranzetti locates motorcycle taxi drivers within a larger, longer struggle over Thai politics, including Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's fateful removal from office in a coup in 2006. Drivers’ desires, forged around economic consumption and visions of prosperity associated with Thaksin, become part of wider collective demands by the late 2000s, as drivers’ political subjectivity, forms of organization, and knowledge of urban terrain make them integral to the Red Shirt movement. Sopranzetti's first-person account of the guerrilla struggle that engulfed Bangkok's commercial centers, as the Red Shirts’ armed street occupations came under military attack, is remarkable (see also Sopranzetti 2012). Drivers’ organizations splinter in the aftermath, while Sopranzetti finally rejects any teleological resolution of Thailand's political conflicts. These conflicts, for him, suggest “a contingent and unresolved struggle in which every action, taken by either state forces or by other political actors, tries, and always fails, to impose a new order, and, in so doing, creates the conditions for its unmaking” (Sopranzetti 2018: 266).

At times, the analysis risks overestimating the drivers’ role in a movement that far exceeds their involvement. It can also come across as surprisingly credulous regarding Thaksin's political status. He is a hero to the Red Shirt movement, certainly, but Sopranzetti portrays him as a bulwark against neoliberalism, defined narrowly here by the scale of state programs, which Thaksin expanded (ibid.: 122–124). However, Thaksin drove Thailand's support for regional economic integration, often seen as a project of neoliberal restructuring (Arnold and Aung 2011; Glassman 2010; Hirsch and Scurrah 2015; Sims 2015). Through economic corridors, industrial zones, ports, and resource extraction, all pushed by aggressive trade liberalization frameworks, this project has wrought social and ecological devastation in neighboring countries. Even within Thailand, Sopranzetti acknowledges that labor flexibilization, recasting workers as entrepreneurs, and extending market logics to public administration—hallmarks of neoliberalism in and beyond its contested Euro-American provenance (Brown 2015; Foucault 2008; Lee and Kofman 2012; Neilson and Rossiter 2008)—were central to Thaksin's agenda.

Still, Sopranzetti's ethnography offers an important contribution to evolving understandings of infrastructure, logistics, and political struggle in anthropology. Bringing these questions together, a postscript directs welcome attention to political praxis. Sopranzetti argues that with a shift from production to circulation as the source of surplus value in contemporary capitalism, it is no longer strikes on the factory floor, but rather blockages of circulation, through which popular mobilizations can exert maximum political force (Sopranzetti 2018: 278–279). Hence the efflorescence, in recent years, of political struggles targeting urban commercial and financial districts, e-commerce and its distribution channels, and ports, pipelines, and shipping corridors, in all of which, for Sopranzetti, “contemporary capitalism is seeing the unfolding of political conflicts in which mobility becomes mobilization and shapes its strategies and tactics” (ibid.: 279, emphasis in original).

At issue is not only mobility, but—with the drivers’ role in blockading commercial Bangkok—the resulting political salience of immobility, an intertwined relation well recognized in the “new mobilities paradigm” (Adey 2006). Sopranzetti suggests that these questions receive limited research attention, although similar arguments about circulation struggles have emerged with growing frequency in recent years (see especially Clover 2016, if also Armstrong 2016). Yet among ethnographies, Sopranzetti's analysis is unique. In contrast to anthropology's infrastructural turn, Sopranzetti grasps infrastructures not only as channels of exchange, commerce, and interconnection, but also, more pressingly, as sites of conflict, antagonism, and explosive political struggles. In so doing, he indicates how a still-emergent anthropology of logistics might radicalize anthropology's pronounced attention to infrastructure.

When James wrote his study of Moby-Dick, he was imprisoned on Ellis Island. In McCarthy's America, James had been detained for his radical political views, and in his cell, he wrote about Melville while awaiting deportation. His situation influenced the book. An appended chapter compares life on the Pequod to life on Ellis Island, with James presenting his argument for citizenship. The book, a brilliant study of an American classic, was also something of a gamble to ingratiate himself with America's political elite. James even sent a copy to each member of Congress, adding an appeal to contribute 1 US dollar to his legal defense (Eakin 2001). The gamble failed. He was deported in 1953, just as the automated oil tanker began to capture imaginations in the shipping industry. This dream of wealth without workers—the fantasy of logistics as an automatic subject—would require a whole struggle against workers, against human labor power, and against unions and the cultures of port cities (Khalili 2020). What James had understood of the Pequod—that the whaling ship, foremost, was a workplace—would become a matter of dispute, even conflict, with the ships of the future.

Is anthropology, like philosophy, in danger of “becoming logistical”? Recall that in Mezzadra and Neilson's formulation, borrowing from Harney, it is network and assemblage theory that risk displacing attention to subjectivity and antagonism in studies of capitalism's logistical operations. In these three ethnographies of logistics—avowed as such or not—network and assemblage theory do not always figure prominently. Yet the risk remains of reifying logistics’ self-representation, of understanding nodes of logistical circulation primarily as sites of flow, exchange, and spatial connectivity. Of a piece with anthropology's infrastructural turn, this thematization is what critical scholars of logistics from other disciplines do so well to call into question.

Dua's analysis most captures the risk of reinscribing logistics’ story of itself. In pushing back, convincingly, on one dominant representation—of piracy as disruption, the enemy of humankind—the analysis reinscribes another dominant representation, one with its own shortcomings—of logistics as a locus of connectivity above all. Appel, interestingly, hardly accepts any telos of flow and connectivity, of smooth integration. These are capitalist fantasies, she affirms, but they are no less powerful as such. On the contrary, their material effects are tremendous. In her ethnography, to trace what is needed to reproduce capitalism's apparent smoothness is not to concede that fantasy, but rather to grapple with its work in the world, however ruinous, contested, and ultimately indefensible. For Sopranzetti, meanwhile, logistics’ story of seamless circulation reveals sites of vulnerability to political struggle. It is drivers’ indispensability to urban circulation that enabled them to help blockade much of commercial Bangkok, seriously threatening, for a time, Thailand's ruling political classes.

In Bangkok, these twinned dynamics of mobility and immobility underscore Mezzadra and Neilson's argument: that it is not only moments of opening, but also closure, that characterize capitalism's logistical operations. If an anthropology of logistics continues to take shape, this insight may still radicalize the field's ongoing investment in the study of infrastructure.

Notes

1

In Capital, Volume 1, in the chapter titled “The general formula for capital,” Marx (1990: 255) writes, “(Value) is constantly changing from one form into the other, without becoming lost in this movement; it thus becomes transformed into an automatic subject. If we pin down the specific forms of appearance assumed in turn by self-valorizing value in the course of its life, we reach the following elucidation: capital is money, capital is commodities. In truth, however, value is here the subject of a process in which, while constantly assuming the form in turn of money and commodities, it changes its own magnitude, throws off surplus-value from itself considered as original value, and thus valorizes itself independently. For the movement in the course of which it adds surplus-value is its own movement, its valorization is therefore self-valorization [Selbstbewertung]. By virtue of being value, it has acquired the occult ability to add value to itself. It brings forth living offspring, or at least lays golden eggs.”

2

In 2019, the Department of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University hosted a workshop titled “Logistics: Re-thinking Economies of Circulation,” and in 2020, the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography at Oxford University held a workshop titled “Logistics and Infrastructure.” Charmaine Chua, Jatin Dua, and Brett Neilson are among the important scholars of logistics who took part in these workshops. Hege Høyer Leivestad and Gabriella Körling, both anthropologists affiliated with the Stockholm department, have developed research projects focused on European container shipping and railway trade in West Africa, respectively. Elisabeth Schober, of the University of Oslo's Department of Social Anthropology, is leading a multisited, collaborative research project on ports and global capitalism in Singapore, Pusan (South Korea), Rotterdam (Holland), and Piraeus (Greece). Lin Weiqiang, of the National University of Singapore's Department of Geography, is leading a multisited, collaborative logistics project with strong ethnographic components, in his case focused on aeromobility and automation in the airports of Singapore, Jakarta, and Beijing. These are some of the logistics research projects that have emerged in the last few years in (or related to) anthropology, alongside a number of promising book projects, including, inter alia, Scott Lash's on the cultural dimensions of logistics in China and Charmaine Chua's on containerization across the Pacific Rim.

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  • Lefebvre, Henri. 1991. The production of space. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Li, Tania Murray. 2007. The will to improve: Governmentality, development, and the practice of politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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  • Marcus, George, and Erkan Saka. 2006. “Assemblage.” Theory, Culture, and Society 32 (2–3): 101109.

  • Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital, Volume 1. London: Penguin Books and New Left Review.

  • Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. 2013. “Extraction, logistics, finance: Global crisis and the politics of operations.” Radical Philosophy 178: 818.

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  • Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. 2019. The politics of operations: Excavating contemporary capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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    • Export Citation
  • Mitchell, Timothy. 2005. “The work of economics: How a discipline makes its world.” European Journal of Sociology 46 (2): 297320.

  • Mitchell, Timothy. 2011. Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. New York: Verso Books.

  • Neilson, Brett, and Ned Rossiter. 2008. “Precarity as a political concept, or, Fordism as exception.” Theory, Culture, and Society 25 (7–8): 5172.

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    • Export Citation
  • Ong, Aihwa, and Stephen Collier. 2005. Global assemblages: Technology, politics, and ethics as anthropological problems. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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    • Export Citation
  • Rabinow, Paul. 2003. Anthropos today: Reflections on modern equipment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Sekula, Allan. 1995. Fish story. Düsseldorf: Richter Verlag.

  • Sims, Kearrin. 2015. “The Asian Development Bank and the production of poverty: Neoliberalism, technocratic modernization, and land dispossession in the Greater Mekong Subregion.” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 36 (1): 112126.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2012. Red journeys: Inside the Thai Red-Shirt movement. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.

  • Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2018. Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

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Contributor Notes

Geoffrey Aung is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. Focused on the politics of infrastructure, his research addresses race, capital, and postcoloniality in and along Myanmar's special economic zones and trade corridors. E-mail: gra2001@columbia.edu

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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  • Lefebvre, Henri. 1991. The production of space. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Li, Tania Murray. 2007. The will to improve: Governmentality, development, and the practice of politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Marcus, George, and Erkan Saka. 2006. “Assemblage.” Theory, Culture, and Society 32 (2–3): 101109.

  • Marx, Karl. 1990. Capital, Volume 1. London: Penguin Books and New Left Review.

  • Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. 2013. “Extraction, logistics, finance: Global crisis and the politics of operations.” Radical Philosophy 178: 818.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mezzadra, Sandro, and Brett Neilson. 2019. The politics of operations: Excavating contemporary capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mitchell, Timothy. 2005. “The work of economics: How a discipline makes its world.” European Journal of Sociology 46 (2): 297320.

  • Mitchell, Timothy. 2011. Carbon democracy: Political power in the age of oil. New York: Verso Books.

  • Neilson, Brett, and Ned Rossiter. 2008. “Precarity as a political concept, or, Fordism as exception.” Theory, Culture, and Society 25 (7–8): 5172.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ong, Aihwa, and Stephen Collier. 2005. Global assemblages: Technology, politics, and ethics as anthropological problems. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rabinow, Paul. 2003. Anthropos today: Reflections on modern equipment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Sekula, Allan. 1995. Fish story. Düsseldorf: Richter Verlag.

  • Sims, Kearrin. 2015. “The Asian Development Bank and the production of poverty: Neoliberalism, technocratic modernization, and land dispossession in the Greater Mekong Subregion.” Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 36 (1): 112126.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2012. Red journeys: Inside the Thai Red-Shirt movement. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.

  • Sopranzetti, Claudio. 2018. Owners of the map: Motorcycle taxi drivers, mobility, and politics in Bangkok. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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