Christopherson/Knott Fellow's Seminar
Speaker: Colin McFarlane
Chair: Colin Bain
Title: Infrastructure and the (un)making of collective life: sanitation in Mumbai's informal settlements
The relationship between infrastructure, collective life, and the everyday remains poorly understood. Yet it is through these relations that infrastructure is made, unmade and politicised for increasing numbers of urbanites globally. Drawing on research on sanitation infrastructure in two informal settlements in Mumbai, I focus on the nature and politics of collective infrastructuralism. Focussing on the everyday collectivisation of infrastructure entails a different conceptualisation of infrastructure, where infrastructure is instantiated through: uncertain relational rhythms; through collectives - of residents, municipalities, political parties, and metabolic processes - working at infrastructure; and politicised through four key domains: patronage, political society, the illegible social, and state destruction. Installing slum sanitation as a reference point - not a paradigmatic site - has the potential to radically shift our inherited conceptions of infrastructure.