18-21 September 2019

Stream Title:  Infrastructures, identities and the materialities of difference and belonging in the city

This stream will explore the sociality of infrastructure and invite debate about the ways infrastructure can be constitutive of practices and structures of exclusion and division, active political formations, and new social collaborations and ways of belonging in the city.

Recognising the sociality of infrastructure means paying attention to the ways social relations and cleavages are intrinsic to ‘infrastructural lives’ (Graham and McFarlane 2015) and that social identities and imaginations of difference are often entwined with and materialised through the practices of those who design, build, maintain and govern infrastructural systems. Social differences also manifest in the ways communities inhabit, adapt, contest, circumvent, rely on and live with infrastructural systems.

The following themes will be explored: the methodological and theoretical implications of the sociality of infrastructure; how infrastructures reproduce but also potentially challenge exclusions and discriminations; how infrastructures can generate new political and social collaborations and
possibilities for belonging; the governance challenges and forms of citizenship which people engage in to access infrastructures and accommodate inadequate infrastructural provision.

We invite papers addressing but not limited to the following questions:

  • How are everyday infrastructural practices linked to the formation and/or consolidation of particular social identities and forms of difference?
  • How can/do infrastructural practices create political and social spaces?
  • How do the provisioning of infrastructure or infrastructure upgrading processes relate to forms of social exclusion and inequality?
  • How do infrastructure professionals engage with issues of social identity and difference in their practices?

This stream will comprise three sessions: two paper presentation sessions and one session focussing on a discussion of Rosalind Frederick’s recent book, Garbage Citizenship: Vital Infrastructures of Labor in Dakar, Senegal.

Abstracts should be sent to the stream organisers on the following email: infrastructures.difference@gmail.com

Submission Deadline: 20 January 2019


Stream Organisers:

  • Susana Neves Alves, University College London,  susana.alves.11@ucl.ac.uk
  • Niranjana Ramesh, University of Cambridge, nr469@cam.ac.uk
  • Aidan Mosselson, University of Sheffield, a.mosselson@sheffield.ac.uk