Organized Panel Session
To study infrastructure is to consider distributional justice, planning power, and the complex and often fraught relationships between society, the economy and the environment. Electricity generation, transportation networks --- where they facilitate the effective movement of goods and services for some, they impinge upon, to the point of destroying the livelihoods and even existence of others, including plants, animals, and various ecologies. The symbolic and ideological implications of infrastructure projects are often tied into governance and legitimation; for some, infrastructure is best when it is invisible, but for others, completed infrastructural projects are triumphs to be showcased. With four empirically-grounded case studies from mainland Southeast Asia, this panel will consider social, spatial, intra-species, and market implications of large-scale infrastructure projects. Where costs and benefits are calculated in these projects, we can consider how certain perspectives are value-laden, and which parts are either considered expendable or necessarily sacrificed. Further to the material and ecological manifestations of infrastructure, are their myriad ideological applications and justifications. Where detrimental effects of infrastructure become commodified, how can we understand the new market relationship? Where proposed infrastructure projects are rallied against, is there a differing discourse of impact depending on one’s stance?