Logistical Power. Infrastructures and State Formation Beyond the Nation State

Logistical Power. Infrastructures and State Formation Beyond the Nation State

Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), Technical University Munich, and Tema T – Technology and Social Change (TEMAT), Linköping University
Deutsches Museum, Munich
From - Until
17.07.2020 - 18.07.2020
Felix Mauch

In the formation of modern cities and states, logistical infrastructures have become a primary concern of governance. As they organize and monitor the movement of data, energy, goods and many more, they by analogy also redistribute resources and power, regulate services for urban populations, reconfigure administrations and create new knowledge as well as technologies. Moreover, logistical infrastructures produce their own spatialities by exploiting labor, bypassing national regulations and generating new geographies: from container terminals and fulfillment centers, to logistics cities, offshore islands and special economic zones. These practices and processes of reterritorialization have accordingly spurred heated debates on regulation, taxation, public goods and privacy. But do logistical infrastructures affect statehood and vice versa? And if so, how exactly? Which processes of state formations do they support and which do they prevent? And in which ways are different (non-)state actors involved in the implementation, use and maintenance of logistical infrastructures?

Using the lens of logistical power (Gregson et al. 2017), this workshop aims to focus on the co-production of large-scale logistical infrastructures and state formation which go beyond national frameworks. In order to shed light on the dis/continuities between contemporary and historical modes of channeling, monitoring and controlling flows, we invite papers on contemporary as well as historical case studies of visioning, planning, realizing and regulating logistical infrastructures.

We seek contributions that will address – but are not limited to – the following questions:

- How do/did states gain and exercise power through logistical infrastructures?
- Which actors are/were involved in the development, implementation and control of logistical infrastructures in nation states and beyond?
- How are/were multiple visions and imaginaries of statehood entangled with such projects?
- Which rationalities, models and devices are/were applied?
- Which collectives are/were affected by such logistical infrastructures and which forms of claim-making, contestation and engagement can we observe?

Submission: Drawing on relational, process, practice and materiality oriented approaches, we invite both conceptual and empirical contributions from various fields, including STS, history, geography, sociology and anthropology. Please send paper proposals of no more than 300 words along with a one-page CV to felix.mauch@tum.de and silvan.pollozek@tum.de by April 20, 2020. The organizers will cover basic expenses for travel and accommodation.

Please note: Due to current events in connection with the Covid-19 virus, the workshop dates are subject to final confirmation.


Contact (announcement)

Felix Mauch
Professur für Technikgeschichte
Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS)
Technische Universität München
c/o Deutsches Museum
80306 München

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