AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractAs a growing number of authors demonstrate, ‘infrastructure is never neutral and always inherently political’ (Nolte 2016: 441, compare McFarlane and Rutherford 2008; Young and Keil 2009). Infrastructures of all types, whether hard (as in material structures) or soft (as in skills and knowledge) are those systems that support action. Infrastructures both provide the potential for social actions and processes and are produced by social actions and processes. In creating potential, however, infrastructures inevitably also order and govern the actions they make possible (Koglin 2017). Infrastructures organise and shape potentials, providing for some courses of action and not for others. The mechanism of ordering and governing is one of facilitation – infrastructural provision being the provision of material facilities or the facilitation of actions through social development. While certain actions are facilitated by both kinds of infrastructure, actions and practices that fall outside of its desired outcomes are rendered unruly, ungoverned, perhaps even ungovernable and deviant. Consequently, material infrastructures are not only comprised of their material dimension but also operate on discursive levels. Infrastructure’s multiple dimensions and impacts can be traced, according to Picon (2018: 263), as ‘the result of the interactions between a material basis, professional organizations and stabilized sociotechnical practices, and social imagination’. These interactions, and the constitution of those actants, are ably traced in individual chapters elsewhere in this volume. This chapter seeks to engage with a selected range of current theorisations of the politics of infrastructure, and to apply them to specific cases of cycle-specific infrastructures. It subsequently relates the ideas of social and spatial justice arising from these perspectives to bell hooks consideration of marginalisation, to consider how the patterns of marginalisation and mainstreaming revealed in the contributions to this volume might be understood through a lens of a critical and radical politics.
CitationCox, P. (2020). Theorising infrastructure: a politics of spaces and edges. in Koglin, T. & Cox, P. (eds.), The politics of cycling infrastructure. Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press.
DescriptionThis is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an extract/chapter published in The politics of cycling infrastructure. Details of the definitive published version and how to purchase it are available online at: link to be provided when published.
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