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Book Chapter

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Infrastructure materially connects more or less distant places by facilitating various social processes and relations across space. Usually understood in physical terms as the material elements shaping resource flows, infrastructure also refers to the institutions and rules conditioning social practice. Recent geographic research has stressed the social, political and economic dimensions of infrastructure. As objects of empirical analysis, infrastructure discloses broad transformations in the production and management of sociotechnical systems, including the “splintering” of collective services and utilities. Conceptually, infrastructure has provided the foundations for methodological and conceptual innovations surrounding ontologies of flow and mobility, and theorizations of society-nature relations that reframe technological networks as unstable, politicized entities.


Author manuscript version of a chapter published in:

Addie, J.-P. D., 2017, “Infrastructure” (3,000 words), in Richardson, D., Castree, N., Goodchild, M., Liu, W., Kobayashi, A., and Marston R. (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, The Earth, Environment, and Technology Hoboken: Wiley/AAG.

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