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  2. Citizenship, Infrastructure and the Postcolonial

Citizenship, Infrastructure and the Postcolonial

Friday, June 29, 2018 - 09:30 to 17:00
The Open University, London 1-11 Hawley Crescent Camden London NW1 8NP

Keynote Speaker: Nikhil Anand, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania

Citizenship in the postcolonial world has been the subject of extensive research and theory in the social sciences over the last two decades. While research to date has been dominated by the discursive enunciation of citizenship in relation to nation, community and religion, the most innovative recent work in the field, following the urban turn in the social sciences, has highlighted the imbrication of the language and rhetoric of citizenship with access to key infrastructures. This symposium brings these two concepts together to ask how postcolonial forms of - increasingly urban - citizenship are shaped by, and operate in conjunction with infrastructures providing air, water, energy, housing, transport, education, waste-collection, communications, and educational and health services.

A critical focus of the symposium will be the increasingly splintered, privatised and pirated infrastructures negotiated by citizens in the postcolonial world. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that by 2020 two thirds of the world’s workforce will be employed by the informal sector, and much of this employment exists in the ‘gaps’ left by failed or incomplete state infrastructures. The symposium will also encourage cross-disciplinary responses to infrastructures as networks, and will seek new perspectives on the experience and enactment of citizenship from scholars in both the arts and social sciences.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Conceptualising and reading infrastructures and networks.
  • The politics and postcolonial histories of infrastructures.
  • Case studies of resource politics.
  • Connections of citizenship and infrastructure.
  • ‘Pirate’ infrastructures and infrastructure theft.
  • Intersections of culture, gender and infrastructure.
  • The body and infrastructure.

Please send your title, abstract (250 words) and short biography (80-100 words) to by 31st May 2018.



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