06 May 2024
10:30  - 12:00

Seminar room 00.022, Institute for European Global Studies

Institute for European Global Studies


Talk with Prof. Jutta Bakonyi (Durham University): "Capitalism, Infrastructural Power and Modular Statecraft"

Jutta Bakonyi is Professor of Development and Conflict at Durham University in the UK.

Infrastructures matter. They mediate human experiences and facilitate how we engage with and think about the world. The contemporary infrastructural boom across the global South dragged infrastructures into the limelight of academic studies. An increasing number of scholars across disciplines are raising questions about the role of materials in the making of our world. My paper will follow this question and show how the peculiar ontology of infrastructures as ‘matter that enables the movement of other matter’ (Larkin) brings to the fore dialectic tensions of materials and movements that are challenging conventional understandings of space, scale, and agency. On the one hand, infrastructures are undergirding capital’s insatiable drive towards spatial expansion and ever-faster circulation. Infrastructures are deeply imbricated in the capitalist promise of progress and its vision of frictionless mobility and ever-expanding consumption. On the other hand, infrastructures significantly interrupt mobilities and are co-constituting the political as bounded and static driving feelings of nationalism and patriotism. The paper uses infrastructures to trace the dialectic tension between capital’s drive towards the transgression of mobility barriers and the political attempt to erect and solidify boundaries. I will also attend to spatial technologies used to mitigate these tensions and outline how the infrastructural boom is currently re-configuring state-society relations contributing to the modularization of statehood. 

Jutta Bakonyi is Professor of Development and Conflict at Durham University in the UK. Her main research interests are the causes, actors and dynamics of violence, orders of violence beyond the state, state dynamics and international interventions. She is also exploring the material and emotive side of violence, for example researching the nexus of displacement and urbanisation and attending to the politics of infrastructures, focussing especially on ports and transport corridors. Her regional focus is on the Horn of Africa.

Export event as iCal