From repair to reparation: rethinking the role of infrastructural labour for socioecological justice

Authors: Alejandro De Coss Corzo*, University of Bath
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Social Theory, Urban Geography
Keywords: repair, reparation, infrastructure, labor
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Recent scholarship has highlighted the role of maintenance and repair labor in sustaining both infrastructures and the material, social, political, economic and environmental relations that they articulate (Alda-Vidal et al., 2018; Denis & Pontille, 2014; Velho & Ureta, 2019). This body of work has highlighted the reproductive role of infrastructural labor, whether aiming to maintain a set of socioecological relations by going back to normal (Barnes, 2017; Graham & Thrift, 2007) or by fashioning normality as an ongoing, precariously achieved process (Baptista, 2019; De Coss-Corzo, 2020). Maintenance and repair are then crucial in sustaining unjust and unsustainable socioecological relations and configurations across time and space through the upkeep and adaptation of the infrastructures that enable the uneven and unequal appropriation, distribution and usage of resources and waste. Following analyses that emphasise the possibility of incremental change through infrastructural labour (Silver, 2014; Simone, 2018), this paper asks whether it is possible to trace a line from instances of repair to logics of reparation (Patel & Moore, 2017) that allow us to address historical injustices through situated, adaptive and incremental practices.

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