Bilge O’Hearn Firat
Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationThe University of Texas at El Paso
Grant numberGr. 10202
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleO'Hearn Firat, Bilge (The University of Texas at El Paso) "Southern Gas Corridor as a Geopolitical Infrastructure: An Ethnography of the European Union's Energy Security"
Infrastructures tell important political stories about particular intentions in physical form. Cross-border natural gas pipelines, such as the recently built Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) between the Caspian Basin and Europe, are considered “geopolitical infrastructures” par excellence, which are built to promote interests that go beyond state borders and territories. Without taking “geopolitics” or “infrastructure” as a priori, this ethnographic research project examines emergent political and geographical imaginaries in the European Union (EU) that are invested and materialized in SGC through an investigation of how EU actors imbue this gas infrastructure with geopolitical meaning and signification. Throughout a year-long anthropological research and analysis—including 6-months of ethnographic fieldwork in Brussels—through cultural immersion, semi-structured elite-expert interviews, participant and non-participant observations, and textual analysis of policy and media artifacts, I will collect and analyze SGC-related “geopolitical” stories EU actors tell, in order to capture how elite-expert actors make sense of their role and place in the world through worlding this pipeline. In so doing, this project aims to contribute to anthropological studies of geopolitics and infrastructure in Europe with implications and comparative value beyond.