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The body as infrastructure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Luis Andueza, Archie Davies, Alex Loftus, Hannah Schling

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-817
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
PublishedSep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: This paper began as a collaboration for a workshop on Infrastructures of Decay and Repair, organised by Jessica Budds, Kavita Ramakrishnan and Kathleen O’Reilly at the University of East Anglia in May 2018. Along with the generous comments of the participants and organisers of that workshop, we received helpful feedback from (former, for some of us) colleagues and friends in the Contested Development group and PhD writing workshop at King’s College London. Further rich and generative comments from James Angel, Pratik Mishra and Sophie Lewis really helped us to clarify and sharpen the arguments. Finally, we benefitted from the constructive engagements of 3 anonymous reviewers along with the editors at EPE, in particular Leila Harris. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020.

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Abstract

In this paper, we conceptualise the human body as infrastructure, asking what kind of infrastructure it currently is and what kind of infrastructure it could be. We therefore tease out the historically and geographically specific ways in which human bodies have been (re)produced as infrastructure, emphasising the violence of abstraction in capitalist modernity that transforms the productive body into a technology of calorific inputs and outputs. Nevertheless, through demystifying abstract labour we point to the relations of (re)production (needed for the body’s ongoing repair) and the metabolic processes (responsible for both decay and repair) that are subsumed within a broader capitalist system of accumulation. In so doing, we turn to the immanent contradictions and struggles that resist the body’s production as a one-sided technology of circulation and through which it is, and can become, an infrastructure for life and sociality.

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