Reimagining post-socialist political geographies through a logistical gaze

Authors: Evelina Gambino*, University College London
Topics: Socialist and Critical Geographies, Political Geography, Eurasia
Keywords: critical logistics, post-socialism, infrastructure, geopolitics, South Caucasus
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Recent critical accounts of contemporary capitalism have noted the central place occupied by logistics in propelling its (re)production on a global scale. The spatial circulation of commodities, materials and services facilitated by new technologies and the infrastructures that sustain them has reshaped territories and the relations between the different actors that occupy them. The increased investment in logistical infrastructures across the territories of the former Soviet Union has reactivated past geopolitical epistemologies and crafted new imaginations. In particular, the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative places logistical connections at the centre of a new global territorial vision where trade and governance are intermixed, ostensibly breaking with the geopolitical order emerged at the wake of the Cold war. This paper proposes to reflect on the interactions between this global logistical gaze and (post)Socialist legacies by looking at one specific infrastructural space: the village of Anaklia in West Georgia. At the border with the defacto state of Abkhazia, Anaklia has, in the past decade, been at the centre of different waves of investment in the attempt to turn it into a logistics hub. At once the repository of futuristic and deterritorialised visions of progress and the material practices they engender, and a site where an Occidentalist nationalist grammar of Georgia’s greatness is constantly reinscribed, Anaklia emerges as a contradictory and ethnographically thick space from which is possible to observe the geographical (dis)connections that sustain contemporary projects of capital accumulation.

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