Roads, bridges, dams and ports: what does the turn to infrastructure (both empirical and theoretical) mean for Latin American environmental geographies?: Subjectivities & Identities

Type: Virtual Paper
Theme:
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Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 32
Organizers: Jessica Hope, Murat Arsel
Chairs: Murat Arsel

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Latin America’s contested environmental geographies remain globally significant, in particular for the negotiation and analysis of predatory extractive frontiers and for fertile decolonising agendas that include claims for territory, plurality and ontological multiplicity. Yet, commitments to new infrastructure both connect and complicate extractive and decolonising agendas, with implications for Latin American political ecologies and their analysis. Plans for new infrastructure include new highways, waterways, railways, ports, dams, and power stations, including in the Amazon basin (Bebbington et al 2020). These plans extend a wider turn to infrastructure-led development (Dodson 2017), support the region’s extractive imperative (Arsel et al 2019) and are entangled with global agendas for sustainable development (Hope 2020).

Within social science, an infrastructural turn has brought changes to contemporary conceptualisations of infrastructure that go beyond physical materiality to examine infrastructures as a manifestation of social and technological processes (Lemanski 2019:3; Larkin 2013; Von Schnitzler 2008), revealing how infrastructure is implicated in citizenship (Lemanski 2020), post-colonial politics (Cowen 2019; Enns & Bersaglio 2020), authoritarian developmentalism (Arsel et al. forthcoming), and political ecology (Anand 2017; Bebbington 2020; Hope forthcoming). In this 3 session panel, papers that examine what this turn to infrastructure means, both empirically and theoretically, for our understanding and analysis of Latin American environmental geographies. These are organised into discussions of States & Spaces; Subjectivities & Identities; and Knowledges & Territories.


Description

Latin America’s contested environmental geographies remain globally significant, in particular for the negotiation and analysis of predatory extractive frontiers and for fertile decolonising agendas that include claims for territory, plurality and ontological multiplicity. Yet, commitments to new infrastructure both connect and complicate extractive and decolonising agendas, with implications for Latin American political ecologies and their analysis. Plans for new infrastructure include new highways, waterways, railways, ports, dams, and power stations, including in the Amazon basin (Bebbington et al 2020). These plans extend a wider turn to infrastructure-led development (Dodson 2017), support the region’s extractive imperative (Arsel et al 2019) and are entangled with global agendas for sustainable development (Hope 2020).

Within social science, an infrastructural turn has brought changes to contemporary conceptualisations of infrastructure that go beyond physical materiality to examine infrastructures as a manifestation of social and technological processes (Lemanski 2019:3; Larkin 2013; Von Schnitzler 2008), revealing how infrastructure is implicated in citizenship (Lemanski 2020), post-colonial politics (Cowen 2019; Enns & Bersaglio 2020), authoritarian developmentalism (Arsel et al. forthcoming), and political ecology (Anand 2017; Bebbington 2020; Hope forthcoming). In this 3 session panel, papers that examine what this turn to infrastructure means, both empirically and theoretically, for our understanding and analysis of Latin American environmental geographies. These are organised into discussions of States & Spaces; Subjectivities & Identities; and Knowledges & Territories.


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Valeria Guarneros-Meza*, De Montfort University, The configuration of mining infrastructures in Mexico 15 11:10 AM
Presenter Xaquin Pérez-Sindín*, Natural Resources Management department, University of Copenhagen, Living near the 'death train'. Understanding how transport infrastructures shape political subjectivities 15 11:25 AM
Presenter Erik Post*, University of British Columbia, The Hydra of Hydroelectric ‘Sustainable Development': Infrastructures of Extractivism, Repression, and Violence in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, Mexico 15 11:40 AM
Presenter Melissa Bayer*, Institute for Geography, University of Münster, Germany, Social belonging through material water infrastructure – a hydro-social analysis of informal water access in the city of Antofagasta, Chile 15 11:55 AM
Discussant Jessica Hope University of St Andrews 15 12:10 PM

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