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Infrastructure and the Political

General data

Course ID: 3102-FIAP
Erasmus code / ISCED: 14.7 Kod klasyfikacyjny przedmiotu składa się z trzech do pięciu cyfr, przy czym trzy pierwsze oznaczają klasyfikację dziedziny wg. Listy kodów dziedzin obowiązującej w programie Socrates/Erasmus, czwarta (dotąd na ogół 0) – ewentualne uszczegółowienie informacji o dyscyplinie, piąta – stopień zaawansowania przedmiotu ustalony na podstawie roku studiów, dla którego przedmiot jest przeznaczony. / (0314) Sociology and cultural studies The ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) code has been designed by UNESCO.
Course title: Infrastructure and the Political
Name in Polish: Infrastructure and the Political
Organizational unit: Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Course groups: (in Polish) Moduł L5: Antropologia polityczna i ekonomiczna
Courses in foreign languages
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available) Basic information on ECTS credits allocation principles:
  • the annual hourly workload of the student’s work required to achieve the expected learning outcomes for a given stage is 1500-1800h, corresponding to 60 ECTS;
  • the student’s weekly hourly workload is 45 h;
  • 1 ECTS point corresponds to 25-30 hours of student work needed to achieve the assumed learning outcomes;
  • weekly student workload necessary to achieve the assumed learning outcomes allows to obtain 1.5 ECTS;
  • work required to pass the course, which has been assigned 3 ECTS, constitutes 10% of the semester student load.

view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

optional courses

Short description:

This course draws on the recently growing interdisciplinary literature on the social lives of diverse material infrastructures.

Full description:

The course combines ethnographic and theoretical readings from anthropology, sociology, geography, political science and Science and Technology Studies. How are infrastructures socially produced and, conversely, how do they become constitutive factors in shaping relations of power, economic circulations and social order? How do they serve social engineering and ordering powers? How is the socio-political work of infrastructures contested? What might be the unexpected effects of infrastructures' own material agency? Exploring these and related question, the course offers innovative insights on the nature and meaning of the political and brings to light the usually taken-for-granted gridworks underpinning social worlds.


Anand, N. 2013. 'Municipal Disconnect: On Abject Water and its Urban Infrastructures'. Ethnography 13(4):487-509.

Dalakoglou, D. 2017. The Road: An Ethnography of (Im)mobility, Space, and Cross-Border Infrastructures in the Balkans. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Haines, S. 2017. 'Imagining the Highway: Anticipating Infrastructural and Environmental Change in Belize'. Ethnos, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2017.1282974

Harvey, P. and H. Knox 2015. Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Humphrey, C. 2005. 'Ideology in Infrastructure: Architecture and Soviet Imagination'. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11(1):39-58.

Jensen, C.B. and A. Morita 2015. 'Infrastructures as Ontological Experiments'. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 1:81-87.

Joyce, P. and T. Bennett (eds) 2010. Material Powers. London: Routledge.

Knox, H. 2017. 'Affective Infrastructures and the Political Imagination'. Public Culture (2017) 29 (2 (82)): 363-384.

Larkin, B. 2008. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press.

Larkin, B. 2013. 'The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure'. Annual Review of Anthropology 42:327–343.

Reeves, M. 2016. 'Infrastructural Hope: Anticipating ‘Independent Roads’ and Territorial Integrity in Southern Kyrgyzstan'. Ethnos, DOI:10.1080/00141844.2015.1119176

Schwenkel, C. 2013. 'Post-Socialist Affect: Ruination and Reconstruction of the Nation in Urban Vietnam'. Cultural Anthropology 28(2):252-277.

Von Schnitzler, A. 2008. 'Citizenship Prepaid: Water, Calculability and Techno-Politics in South Africa'. Journal of Southern African Studies 34(4):899-917.

Learning outcomes: (in Polish)

Po ukończeniu zajęć studenci potrafią:

- analitycznie myśleć i dokonywać obserwacji i krytyki przemian społeczno-kulturowych

- posługiwać się wybranym językiem obcym na poziomie B2+ Europejskiego Systemu Opisu Kształcenia Językowego

- posługiwać się specjalistyczną terminologią z zakresu etnologii i antropologii kulturowej w języku obcym

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Course essay (term paper) of 2,500 words. Students will be asked to submit 250-word abstracts of their prospective essays mid-semester. Students are free to pick a topic of their choice, as long as it speaks to the overall theme of the course. The essays should also engage with at least selected readings discussed during the semester, plus any other relevant literature (which the students will be expected to identify).

In addition, students will have the opportunity to volunteer to make a presentation on one of the required readings during the semester. A successful presentation equals half a grade up on the final score.

This course is not currently offered.
Course descriptions are protected by copyright.
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