IAS Fellow's Public Lecture - Evidence of the Public Good: sceptical reasoning and public infrastructure projects in contemporary Peru
Drawing on ethnographic research on processes of decentralization and infrastructural development in the Peruvian Andes, the lecture explores how divergent evidential forms, modes of reasoning and analytical procedures are managed to produce adequate grounds for action in the name of the public good. Public works are surrounded with a high degree of affective force in rural Peru, associated with a sense of longing and haunted by expectations of abandonment and exclusion. Engineers and local government officials have to provide proof of ‘value’ in registers that can both elicit funding from external sources (national and/or international), and satisfy local expectations. Expert knowledge is central to the lived politics of the contemporary, decentralizing state, and infrastructural systems increasingly appear as the political currency through which to secure new collective futures. In these spaces of material transformation the engineer is required to adopt modes of reasoning that involve an ironic doubling as technical expertise is recognised as the necessary but nevertheless insufficient means of bringing the future into being.
This lecture is free and open to all.
Details about Professor Penny Harvey
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