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Political engineering? The co-production of infrastructure, political order and security in Western statebuilding efforts in Africa

Research project
Active research
Project period
2016 - 2020
Project owner
School of Global Studies

Short description

This research project explores the politics of infrastructure within Western state-building ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

Background and research aims

This research project explores the politics of infrastructure within Western state-building ventures in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. Substantial parts of international missions aimed to strengthen state capacity and improve security hinge on what is considered technical solutions—mainly the construction of roads. However, can roads lead to peace and security? What stakes to donors and communities have in a road project? What is the specific political ecology of infrastructure in contested terrains?

Based on historical research as well as on extensive field research in the Eastern DRC and South Sudan, the project explores the linkages between infrastructure and notions of political order. Conceptually, we draw on the insights of science and technology studies and the anthropology of infrastructure.  

Research along a UNOPS feeder road project, Eastern Lakes State, South Sudan.
Research along with a UNOPS feeder road project, Eastern Lakes State, South Sudan.
Photo: Jan Bachman

Members

Jan Bachman

Peer Schouten, Danish Institute for International Studies