Infrastructures and Ecologies

Over the past few centuries, Georgia has lived through multiple regimes of infrastructural development that paralleled the region’s political and ideological transformations. Far from simply succeeding each other, these “infrastructural regimes” were sometimes contemporaneous, even nestled within each other: the Soviet paradigm of infrastructural development owed a lot of its conceptual and material resources to tsarist modernization, while individuals and, more broadly, the economic system in post-Soviet Georgia continue to rely on the ruins and remnants of Soviet communications, industrial and urban infrastructure; similarly, Soviet infrastructure has itself entered the transnational exchange of capital, fueling its flow and finding, in the process, a new lease on life. Emerging technology and infrastructure of today’s transnational political economy precipitate new conditions of communication, transportation, processing, and networking. New nodal points of this global lattice – be it roads, power plants or cryptocurrency hotspots – also generate a new logic of their political governance, as well as novel practices of individual and collective response. Nature, caught up with this succession of divergent regimes, acquires variegated forms of agency determined by its relation to infrastructure. Often nature itself appears – although perhaps in a limited sense – as infrastructure. As a core research area, Infrastructures and Ecologies explores the multilayered political economy, ecology, and experiences of this relationship between nature and infrastructures.

ქუთაისის მეტალურგიული ქარხანა. სურათის წყარო: თამთა ხალვაში Kutaisi Metallurgical Plant. Credit: Tamta Khalvashi