Access to the internet has long been considered as essential as water and electricity supply; the UN declared online communication a human right several years ago. But despite its enormous social importance, not much is known about the administrative infrastructure behind it, i.e. who exactly controls the infrastructure of the net and what kind of ideas guide them. The subproject B02 “Control/Space” wants to change that, as project member René Tuma explains.
Territorial borders and border control are back on the political agenda. Globalization has not led to a world without borders. On the contrary, states have expanded the bordering function by fortifying borders, externalizing border control, and introducing digital “smart borders.” This blog post provides an overview of recent trends in borders and border control. The special issue “Borders as Places of Control. Fixing, Shifting, and Reinventing State Borders” of the journal Historical Social Research expands on these considerations.
Since the emergence of ride-hailing applications, South African urban centers have seen a rise in violence between the traditional metered taxis and the new ride-share services. Hundreds of criminal cases have been opened over the last years, and protests organized by ride-hailing drivers have drawn attention to the rising tension in the transport industry. A focus on urban infrastructure might shed new light on the history, politics and materiality of places that perpetuate violence in South Africa’s cities.
In the city of Antofagasta in Northern Chile, 16,396 people live in around 62 so-called informal settlements which lack basic service provision – with water access being the residents’ main concern. Drawing on extensive qualitative fieldwork carried out between 2018 and 2020, this blog post offers a hydro-social analysis of the informal practices of water acquisition employed by the residents of Antofagasta’s informal settlements. By taking into account both the material elements of these practices as well as their underlying logics and rationalities, the author aims to shed light on the reciprocal relationship between official water access and social belonging, paving the way for a more nuanced discussion of urbanisation processes.
Wie lassen sich Energiewende, Demokratie und Ökonomie zusammendenken, um den Herausforderungen des Anthropozäns zu begegnen? Der Blogbeitrag skizziert aus einer räumlichen Perspektive, wie Energieinfrastrukturen nicht nur bestimmte Produktionsverhältnisse, sondern auch spezifische Herrschaftsmuster begünstigen. Während Kohle und insbesondere Erdöl kapitalistischen Oligopolismus und Autoritarismus befördern, bieten erneuerbare Energien durchaus postkapitalistische und demokratische Potenziale, wenn Energieautonomie mit lokalen Entscheidungsstrukturen und solidarischen Wirtschaftsformen ineinander ginge.