1932

Abstract

Infrastructures are material forms that allow for the possibility of exchange over space. They are the physical networks through which goods, ideas, waste, power, people, and finance are trafficked. In this article I trace the range of anthropological literature that seeks to theorize infrastructure by drawing on biopolitics, science and technology studies, and theories of technopolitics. I also examine other dimensions of infrastructures that release different meanings and structure politics in various ways: through the aesthetic and the sensorial, desire and promise.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-anthro-092412-155522
2013-10-21
2024-04-13
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/anthro/42/1/annurev-anthro-092412-155522.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-anthro-092412-155522&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Literature Cited

  1. Anand N. 2011. PRESSURE: The PoliTechnics of water supply in Mumbai. Cult. Anthropol. 26:4542–64 [Google Scholar]
  2. Anand N. 2012. Municipal disconnect: on abject water and its urban infrastructures. Ethnography 13:4487–509 [Google Scholar]
  3. Appel H. 2012a. Offshore work: oil, modularity, and the how of capitalism in Equatorial Guinea. Am. Ethnol. 39:4692–709 [Google Scholar]
  4. Appel HC. 2012b. Walls and white elephants: oil extraction, responsibility, and infrastructural violence in Equatorial Guinea. Ethnography 13:439–65 [Google Scholar]
  5. Apter A. 2005. The Pan-African Nation: Oil and the Spectacle of Culture in Nigeria Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  6. Archambault JS. 2012. “Travelling while sitting down”: mobile phones, mobility and the communication landscape in Inhambane, Mozambique. Africa 82:3393–412 [Google Scholar]
  7. Barker J. 2005. Engineers and political dreams: Indonesia in the satellite age. Curr. Anthropol. 46:5703–27 [Google Scholar]
  8. Barry A. 2001. Political Machines: Governing a Technological Society London: Continuum
  9. Bear L. 2007. Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self New York: Columbia Univ. Press
  10. Beller J. 2006. The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle Lebanon, NH: Dartmouth Univ. Press
  11. Benjamin W. 1999. The Arcades Project R Tiedemann Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press
  12. Bennett J. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press
  13. Bijker WE. 1997. Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  14. Bijker WE, Hughes TP, Pinch TJ. 1987. The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  15. Bowker GC, Star SL. 2000. Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  16. Buck-Morss S. 1992. Aesthetics and anaesthetics: Walter Benjamin's artwork essay reconsidered. October 62:3–41 [Google Scholar]
  17. Callon M. 1986. Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen. Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge J Law 67–83 London: Routledge & Kegan Paul [Google Scholar]
  18. Callon M. 1998. Laws of the Markets Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
  19. Campregher C. 2010. Shifting perspectives on development: an actor-network study of a dam in Costa Rica. Anthropol. Q. 83:4783–804 [Google Scholar]
  20. Carse A. 2012. Nature as infrastructure: making and managing the Panama Canal watershed. Soc. Stud. Sci. 42:4539–63 [Google Scholar]
  21. Chalfin B. 2001. Border zone trade and the economic boundaries of the state in north-east Ghana. Africa 71:2202–24 [Google Scholar]
  22. Chalfin B. 2008. Cars, the customs service, and sumptuary rule in neoliberal Ghana. Comp. Stud. Soc. Hist. 50:2424–53 [Google Scholar]
  23. Chalfin B. 2010. Neoliberal Frontiers: An Ethnography of Sovereignty in West Africa Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  24. Chun WHK. 2008. Control and Freedom: Power and Paranoia in the Age of Fiber Optics Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  25. Collier S, Lakoff A. 2008. The vulnerability of vital systems: how “critical infrastructure” became a security problem. The Politics of Securing the Homeland: Critical Infrastructure, Risk and Securitisation MD Cavelty, KS Kristensen 40–62 New York: Routledge [Google Scholar]
  26. Collier SJ. 2011. Post-Soviet Social: Neoliberalism, Social Modernity, Biopolitics Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press
  27. Dalakoglou D. 2010. The road: an ethnography of the Albanian–Greek cross-border motorway. Am. Ethnol. 37:1132–49 [Google Scholar]
  28. Dalakoglou D. 2012. “The road from capitalism to capitalism”: infrastructures of (post)socialism in Albania. Mobilities 7:4571–86 [Google Scholar]
  29. Dalakoglou D, Harvey P. 2012. Roads and anthropology: ethnographic perspectives on space, time and (im)mobility. Mobilities 7:4459–65 [Google Scholar]
  30. De Boeck F. 2011. Inhabiting ocular ground: Kinshasa's future in the light of Congo's spectral urban politics. Cult. Anthropol. 26:2263–86 [Google Scholar]
  31. Deleuze G. 1992. Postscript on the societies of control. October 59:3–7 [Google Scholar]
  32. Edwards PN. 1997. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  33. Edwards PN. 1998. Y2K: Millennial reflections on computers as infrastructure. Hist. Tech. 15:1–27–29 [Google Scholar]
  34. Edwards PN. 2003. Infrastructure and modernity: force, time, and social organization in the history of sociotechnical systems. Modernity and Technology TJ Misa, P Brey 185–225 Cambridge, MA: MIT Press [Google Scholar]
  35. Edwards PN, Bowker GC, Jackson SJ, Williams R. 2009. Introduction: an agenda for infrastructure studies. J. Assoc. Inf. Syst. 10:5364–74 [Google Scholar]
  36. Elyachar J. 2010. Phatic labor, infrastructure, and the question of empowerment in Cairo. Am. Ethnol. 37:3452–64 [Google Scholar]
  37. Elyachar J. 2011. The political economy of movement and gesture in Cairo. J. R. Anthropol. Inst. 17:182–99 [Google Scholar]
  38. Fennell C. 2011. “Project heat” and sensory politics in redeveloping Chicago public housing. Ethnography 12:140–64 [Google Scholar]
  39. Ferguson J. 1999. Expectations of Modernity: Myths and Meanings of Urban Life on the Zambian Copperbelt Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  40. Fisch M. 2013. Tokyo's commuter train suicides and the society of emergence. Cult. Anthropol. 28:12320–43 [Google Scholar]
  41. Foucault M. 2010. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1978–1979 New York: Picador
  42. Foucault M. 2011. The Government of Self and Others: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1982–1983 AII Davidson. Transl. G Burchell New York: Picador
  43. Freud S. 1989. Civilization and Its Discontents Transl./ed. J Strachey New York: Norton. Reprint ed.
  44. Galloway A. 2006. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  45. Gandy M. 2008. Landscapes of disaster: water, modernity and urban fragmentation in Mumbai. Environ. Plann. 40:108–30 [Google Scholar]
  46. Ghosh K. 2008. Between global flows and local dams: indigenousness, locality, and the transnational sphere in Jharkhand, India. Cult. Anthropol. 21:4501–34 [Google Scholar]
  47. Giedion S. 1969. Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History. New York: Norton
  48. Giedion S. 1995. Building in France, building in iron, building in ferroconcrete Los Angeles: Getty Cent. Hist. Art Humanit.
  49. Graham S, Desai R, McFarlane C. 2013. Water wars in Mumbai. Public Cult. 25:1115–41 [Google Scholar]
  50. Graham S, Marvin S. 1996. Telecommunications and the City: Electronic Spaces, Urban Places London: Routledge
  51. Graham S, Marvin S. 2001. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition London: Routledge
  52. Groys B. 2011. The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and Beyond Transl. C Rougle New York: Verso
  53. Hadjithomas J, Joreige K. 2013. On the Lebanese Rocket Society. e-flux 43:3 http://www.e-flux.com/journal/on-the-lebanese-rocket-society-2/ [Google Scholar]
  54. Hansen TB, Verkaaik O. 2009. Introduction—Urban charisma on everyday mythologies in the city. Crit. Anthropol. 29:15–26 [Google Scholar]
  55. Harvey P. 2010. Cementing relations: the materiality of roads and public spaces in provincial Peru. Soc. Anal. 54:228–46 [Google Scholar]
  56. Harvey P. 2012. The topological quality of infrastructural relation: an ethnographic approach. Theory Cult. Soc. 29:4–576–92 [Google Scholar]
  57. Harvey P, Knox H. 2012. The enchantments of infrastructure. Mobilities 7:4521–36 [Google Scholar]
  58. Hecht G. 2011. Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  59. Heidegger M. 1977. The Question Concerning Technology, and Other Essays Transl. W Lovitt New York: Harper Torchbooks
  60. Hughes TP. 1987. The evolution of large technological systems. See Bijker et al. 1987 51–82
  61. Hughes TP. 1993. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930 Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press
  62. Hull MS. 2012. Documents and bureaucracy. Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 41:251–67 [Google Scholar]
  63. Humphrey C. 2005. Ideology in infrastructure: architecture and Soviet imagination. J. R. Anthropol. Inst. 11:139–58 [Google Scholar]
  64. Jackson SJ, Edwards PN, Bowker GC, Knobel CP. 2007. Understanding infrastructure: history, heuristics, and cyberinfrastructure policy. First Monday 12:6 http://www.firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1904/1786 [Google Scholar]
  65. Jakobson R. 1985. Closing statements: linguistics and poetics. Semiotics: An Introductory Anthology RE Innis 145–75 Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press [Google Scholar]
  66. Joyce P. 2003. The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City London: Verso
  67. Keenan T, Weizman E. 2012. Mengele's Skull: The Advent of Forensic Aesthetics New York: Sternberg
  68. Kernaghan R. 2012. Furrows and walls, or the legal topography of a frontier road in Peru. Mobilities 7:4501–20 [Google Scholar]
  69. Khan N. 2006. Flaws in the flow: roads and their modernity in Pakistan. Soc. Text 24:8987–113 [Google Scholar]
  70. Knox H, Harvey P. 2011. Anticipating harm: regulation and irregularity on a road construction project in the Peruvian Andes. Theory Cult. Soc. 28:6142–63 [Google Scholar]
  71. Kockelman P. 2010. Enemies, parasites, and noise: how to take up residence in a system without becoming a term in it. J. Ling. Anthropol. 20:2406–21 [Google Scholar]
  72. Larkin B. 2008. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press
  73. Latour B. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern Transl. C Porter Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press
  74. Latour B. 1996. Aramis, or the Love of Technology Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press
  75. Latour B. 2007. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
  76. Latour B, Weibel P. 2005. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  77. Lea T, Pholeros P. 2010. This is not a pipe: the treacheries of indigenous housing. Public Cult. 22:1187–209 [Google Scholar]
  78. Lefebvre H. 1991. The Production of Space. Oxford, UK: Blackwell
  79. Limbert M. 2010. In the Time of Oil: Piety, Memory, and Social Life in an Omani Town Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press
  80. Lombardi G. 1999. Computer networks, social networks and the future of Brazil PhD Diss. N.Y. Univ.
  81. Mains D. 2012. Blackouts and progress: privatization, infrastructure, and a developmentalist state in Jimma, Ethiopia. Cult. Anthropol. 27:13–27 [Google Scholar]
  82. Manning P. 2012. Strangers in a Strange Land: Occidentalist Publics and Orientalist Geographies in Nineteenth Century Georgian Imaginaries Boston, MA: Acad. Stud. Press
  83. Marx K. 1990. Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy Transl. B Fowkes New York: Penguin Classics. New ed.
  84. Masquelier A. 1992. Encounter with a road siren: machines, bodies and commodities in the imagination of a Mawri healer. Vis. Anthropol. Rev. 8:156–69 [Google Scholar]
  85. Masquelier A. 2002. Road mythographies: space, mobility, and the historical imagination in postcolonial Niger. Am. Ethnol. 29:4829–56 [Google Scholar]
  86. Masquelier A. 2008. Of headhunters and cannibals: migrancy, labor, and consumption in the Mawri imagination. Cult. Anthropol. 15:184–126 [Google Scholar]
  87. Mattelart A. 1996. The Invention of Communication Transl. S Emanuel Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press
  88. Mattelart A. 2000. Networking the World, 1794–2000 Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press
  89. Mbembe A. 2001. On the Postcolony Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  90. Mbembe A, Roitman J. 1995. Figures of the subject in times of crisis. Public Cult. 7:2323–52 [Google Scholar]
  91. McLagan M. 2006. Introduction: Making human rights claims public. Am. Anthropol. 108:1191–95 [Google Scholar]
  92. McLagan M. 2008. Principles, publicity, and politics: notes on human rights media. Am. Anthropol. 105:3605–12 [Google Scholar]
  93. McLagan M, McKee Y. 2012. Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism New York: Zone Books
  94. Meyer B. 2009. Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses New York: Palgrave
  95. Mitchell T. 2002. Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  96. Mitchell T. 2011. Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil New York: Verso
  97. Morris RC. 2010. Accidental histories, post-historical practice?: re-reading Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance in the actuarial age. Anthropol. Q. 83:3581–624 [Google Scholar]
  98. Mrázek R. 2002. Engineers of Happy Land: Technology and Nationalism in a Colony Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press
  99. Mumford L. 2010. Technics and Civilization Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  100. Otter C. 2008. The Victorian Eye: A Political History of Light and Vision in Britain, 1800–1910 Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  101. Pedersen MA. 2011. Not Quite Shamans: Spirit Worlds and Political Lives in Northern Mongolia Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press
  102. Ranciere J. 2006. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible Transl. G Rockhill London: Continuum
  103. Ranciere J. 2009. Aesthetics and Its Discontents Transl. S Corcoran London: Polity
  104. Redfield P. 2000. Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana. Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  105. Roseman SR. 1996. “How we built the road”: the politics of memory in rural Galicia. Am. Ethnol. 23:4836–60 [Google Scholar]
  106. Sanders T. 2008. Buses in Bongoland: seductive analytics and the occult. Anthropol. Theory 8:2107–32 [Google Scholar]
  107. Schivelbusch W. 1995. Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century Transl. A Davies Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  108. Simmel G. 1972. Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms DN Levine Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  109. Simondon G. 1980 [1958]. On the Mode of Existence of Technological Objects. Transl N Mellamphy London, ON: Univ. West. Ont. (From French) http://english.duke.edu/uploads/assets/Simondon_MEOT_part_1.pdf
  110. Simone A. 1998. Globalization and the identity of African urban practices. Blank—Architecture, Apartheid and After H Judic, I Vladisavić 173–87 Rotterdam, The Neth.: NAi [Google Scholar]
  111. Simone A. 2001. On the worlding of African cities. Afr. Stud. Rev. 44:15–41 [Google Scholar]
  112. Simone A. 2004. People as infrastructure: intersecting fragments in Johannesburg. Public Cult. 16:3407–29 [Google Scholar]
  113. Sneath D. 2009. Reading the signs by Lenin's light: development, divination and metonymic fields in Mongolia. Ethnos 74:172–90 [Google Scholar]
  114. Sneath D, Holbraad M, Pedersen MA. 2009. Technologies of the imagination: an introduction. Ethnos 74:15–30 [Google Scholar]
  115. Star SL. 1999. The ethnography of infrastructure. Am. Behav. Sci. 43:3377–91 [Google Scholar]
  116. Star SL, Ruhleder K. 1996. Steps toward an ecology of infrastructure: design and access for large information spaces. Inf. Syst. Res. 7:1111–34 [Google Scholar]
  117. Stiegler B. 1998 [1994]. Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus Transl. R Beardsworth, G Collins Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press (From French)
  118. Taussig M. 2004. My Cocaine Museum Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  119. Todorov V. 1994. Red Square, Black Square: Organon for Revolutionary Imagination Albany: State Univ. New York Press
  120. Verrips J. 2006. Aisthesis and an-aesthesia. Off the Edge: Experiments in Cultural Analysis O Lovgren, R Wilk 29–36 Copenhagen: Mus. Tusculanem [Google Scholar]
  121. Verrips J, Meyer B. 2001. Kwaku's car: the struggles and stories of a Ghanaian long-distance taxi-driver. Car Cultures D Miller 153–84 Oxford: Berg [Google Scholar]
  122. Von Schnitzler A. 2008. Citizenship prepaid: water, calculability, and techno-politics in South Africa. J. South. Afr. Stud. 34:4899–917 [Google Scholar]
  123. Wedeen L. 1999. Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  124. Winther T. 2008. The Impact of Electricity: Development, Desires and Dilemmas New York: Berghahn
  125. Yates J. 1993. Control Through Communication: The Rise of System in American Management Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press
  126. Zaloom C. 2003. Ambiguous numbers: trading technologies and interpretation in financial markets. Am. Ethnol. 30:2258–72 [Google Scholar]
  127. Zaloom C. 2006. Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-anthro-092412-155522
Loading
  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error