Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationDelft U. of Technology
Grant numberGr. 10082
Approve DateApril 8, 2021
Project TitleRap, Edwin (Delft U. of Technology) "MEGADAM EXPERTISE: PERFORMING INFRASTRUCTURAL KNOWLEDGE IN TIMES OF SHOCK"
How is expertise performed in everyday life and when major shocks reassemble mega-infrastructures? This study’s object of observation is a mega-dam in its wider infrastructural network in Southern Africa, while infrastructural expertise is the broader object of study. The transboundary infrastructural network facilitates the storage, transportation, and use of electricity and water flows that power distant urban and industrial infrastructures. An ethnographic study of this dam network and its continuous making from the inside-out means observing critical events and documenting everyday practices from inside infrastructural nodes, while moving outwards into its infrastructural tentacles and following its resource flows. Covid-19 currently accentuates the critical role that shocks play in the life of mega-infrastructures. A study of infrastructure from the outside-in asks how shocks reassemble infrastructural networks and how epistemic cultures and non-human natures mediate this. An anthropological lens on how epistemic groups culturally enact infrastructural expertise allows transcending a technocratic view of infrastructure as politically neutral and devoid of culture. This ethnographic study of infrastructural expertise, aims to open up the black box of megadam performance.