This lecture examines the social life and sociality of urban infrastructure. Drawing on a case study of land occupations and informal settlements in the city of Belo Horizonte in Brazil, where the staples of life such as water, electricity, shelter and sanitation are co-constructed by the poor, Ash Amin argues that infrastructures—visible and invisible—are deeply implicated not only in the making and unmaking of individual lives but also in the experience of urban community, solidarity and struggle. Ash Amin, the 1931 Chair of Geography at Cambridge University, writes about race, cities, and biopolitics. His most recent publications include Land of Strangers (Polity, 2012) and Arts of the Political (Duke, 2013, with Nigel Thrift); he is currently completing a book on the city as machine, with Nigel Thrift, for Polity.
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