“What is infrastructure?” new work by graduate students Lav Kanoi, Vanessa Koh, Al Lim, Shoko Yamada

February 14, 2022
Lav Kanoi, Vanessa Koh, Al Lim, Shoko Yamada, joint PhD students in the Yale Department of Anthropology and Yale School of the Environment (YSE), and Michael R. Dove, the Margaret K. Musser Professor of Social Ecology at the Yale School of the Environment and the Department of Anthropology, have published a paper on infrastructure in Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability.
“ ‘What is infrastructure? What does it do?’: anthropological perspectives on the workings of infrastructure(s)” examines what it means for different kinds of material infrastructures to function (and for whom) or not. Further, it considers how the immaterial infrastructure of human relations are manifested in, for example, labour, as well as how infrastructures may create intended or unintended consequences in enabling or disabling social processes. The authors unpack the concepts embedded in approaches to thinking about infrastructure, like the presumed distinctions between the technical and the social, nature and culture, the human and the non-human, and the urban and the rural. They draw from a growing body of work on infrastructure in anthropology and the social sciences, enrich it with ethnographic insights from our own field research, and so extend what it means to study ‘infrastructures’ in the 21st century.
Read their piece here.