The study of the politics of infrastructure in the Middle East and North Africa continues to gain interest and growth among scholars with different interdisciplinary backgrounds and experiences. This interest is part of a larger global trend, known as the ‘infrastructural turn’. This turn not only reflects a discourse in global policy on the importance and challenges of investing in infrastructures, but also shows growing scholarly interest in examining the material structures that hold the world together.
Infrastructures are recognized as a sign of modernity and development. They provide a mechanism to circulate goods, utilities, resources, and facilitate the connection of people, societies, and spaces across the globe. In essence, infrastructures shape and impact people’s everyday life and are closely tied to urban and socio-economic development and political dynamics. Nowadays, virtual infrastructures (servers, cloud storage, big data, etc.) have become critical to easing and circumventing restrictions, simplifying communications, financial transactions, and mobility, among other uses. Both physical and virtual infrastructures are imbricated in social relationships, and by extension in politics and economics. International politics, trade, and war (destruction) are animated by infrastructure.
The politics of infrastructures in the MENA region align with global trends but also bear characteristics and controversies tied to authoritarianism, development, and environmental issues.
The Arab Political Science Network (APSN) and the Center for Economic, Legal, and Social Studies and Documentation (CEDEJ) are pleased to organize this webinar that brings together three researchers working on various aspects of infrastructural politics. They will discuss research trends and share their experiences regarding the multilayered and intricate study of politics of infrastructure.
Dr. May Darwich, University of Birmingham, UK
Prof. Laleh Khalili, University of Exeter, UK
Dr. Dalia Wahdan, American University of Cairo, Egypt
Dr. Ekin Kurtiç, Northwestern University, USA