Conference "The social and political life of Latin American infrastructures: Insights from the Ecuadorian Andes"

Le 27/04/2023

with Geoff Goodwin, University of Leeds

In this talk, I will put my research on water politics in Ecuador into dialogue with The Social and Political Life of Latin American Infrastructures, a cross-disciplinary book that I co-edited (Alderman and Goodwin, 2022). In the introduction to the book, we build on the infrastructure literature to argue that it is fruitful to conceptualise infrastructures as a relational and experimental processes. I will start this presentation by explaining the building blocks of this conceptual approach and stressing the importance of analysing Latin American infrastructures in the context of long run processes of colonialism and capitalism. I will then discuss the politics of water infrastructure in the Ecuadorian Andes, with a focus on community water struggles. Since the 1960s and 1970s, rural and peri-urban highland communities have taken greater autonomous control of water sources and services, and this has involved diverse and creative interactions with various types of hydraulic infrastructure. I will argue that while this highly uneven historical process has been beset by problems and conflicts, it has created space for communities to strengthen their collective autonomous capacity and reconfigure political relations and institutions, including the legal-bureaucratic framework that regulates water in Ecuador. I will conclude by linking my research to the wider infrastructure literature and considering what the Ecuadorian case tells us about capitalist development elsewhere in the Global South.

Thursday 27 April from 10 to 12 am

ULB - Campus du Solbosch
AY.2.112 - Building A, door Y, 2th floor, room 112
Avenue Jeanne 44
1000 Bruxelles

Free entrance.

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