Commons Approaches to the Infrastructural Gap
- Article: Infrastructural gap: Commons, state and anthropology. By Dimitris Dalakoglou, Jan 2017
"An infrastructural gap (IG) emerged after the outbreak of the crisis in 2008 and it refers to the difficulty of the state and the private sector in sustaining the level of infrastructural networks in the Western world. Yet, infrastructures comprise the realm where the state or the market materialize a great proportion of the social contract. Citizens therefore often experience IG as a challenge of the entire political paradigm. Nevertheless, as research in the country that is at the center of the current euro-crisis—Greece—records, we have novel and innovative forms of civil activity focused on the IG. Such activity, applying principles of self-organization and peer-to-peer relationships, along with practices of social solidarity and ideals of commons, attempts to address IG in innovative ways. However, such practices call for theoretical and empirical innovations as well, in order to overcome the social sciences’ traditional understandings of infrastructures. This paper—based on the inaugural professorial lecture I gave in acceptance of the Chair in Social Anthropology at the Vrije University Amsterdam—seeks to initiate a framework for understanding this shift in the paradigm of infrastructures’ governance and function, along with the newly emerging infrastructural turn in socio-cultural anthropology."