Mobility Infrastructure

Mobility Infrastructure

In facilitating and constraining the movements of people, things, information, and energy, overlapping sociotechnical systems—such as transport and communication networks, the logistics industry, and governmental regulations—constitute a “mobility infrastructure”. Mobility, in turn, functions as an infrastructure for other social activities. The mobility of traders is the basis for the development of marketplaces, for example. And the existence of exit routes is critical for managing conflicts—from domestic violence to ethnic strife. As such, mobility infrastructure forms a central nexus between mobilities and socioeconomic changes.

Text Entries | Conversations in video or audio

In this instalment of MoLab, Luisa Piart and Biao Xiang talk about the linked mobilities of seafarers and commodities. The shipping industry is the backbone of global trade, and seafarers are the ‘human element’ of the shipping industry. While the world has ever more and larger ships, the number of seafarers on board is shrinking. Seafarers become more marginalized and less visible with the rapid development of seaborne logistics.

Luisa Piart is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. Conversation recorded on 27 July 2021
In this video conversation with Biao Xiang, Juli Perczel delves into producer responsibility organisations (PROs), a new concept that seeks to implement extended producer responsibility (EPR) with the companies involved in e-waste, develop urban mining, and enhance the circular economy. These organizations are overseen by internationally mobile young people who are deeply engaged in similar experimentations in Europe.

Recorded on 27 July 2021. Juli Perczel is a PhD candidate in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK.
Since domestic sources of used electronics became prominent in recent years in India, a particular caste, the Maliks, emerged as a major player in collecting—as well as transporting—e-waste. Originally from western Uttar Pradesh, they had spanned out in search of waste and now, with an all-India presence, keep the materials moving towards Delhi, the centre of this trade. In this video conversation, Juli Perczel and Biao Xiang discuss how the mobility of goods are enabled by humans.

Recorded on 27 July 2021. Juli Perczel is a PhD candidate in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK.
In this MoLab conversation, Juli Perczel and Biao Xiang discuss what are behind the movements of e-waste in India. The circulation of e-waste material is facilitated by sophisticated social networks, divisions of labour, and transaction relations. Used electronics are scrutinized and evaluated in their different parts for reuse, refurbishing or scrapping. These processes are often associated with human migration and are not always environmentally friendly.

Recorded on 27 July 2021. Juli Perczel is a PhD candidate in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK.
In this video, Juli Perczel and Biao Xiang discuss e-waste as a material in circulation, a process in which its value fluctuates but never disappears. This is in direct contradiction to how e-waste is usually portrayed as a dead-end, toxic substance to fill landfills.

Recorded on 27 July 2021. Juli Perczel is a PhD candidate in Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK.
afe migration for low-skilled workers in the Mekong region often means “finding a good broker”. Likewise, the securitization of mobility is mediated by actors, technologies, and devices, resulting in impacts on migrants and citizens that are multiple and even stretch far beyond mobility. — Sverre Molland, Biao Xiang
Human and non-human mobilities are interlinked not only in practice, but also in our perception. Rethinking our understandings about the movements of plants and animals may bring in new perspectives in thinking human mobility and conviviality. — Julia Morris, Biao Xiang
In this installment of MoLab Conversation, Julia Morris and Biao Xiang discuss a new global trend that non-human entities play a part in the governance of migration. Nature conservation became a means of territorialization and border reinforcement. Resource management and migration management merge in border-making.
Continuing their discussion into “linked mobilities,” In this video Julia Morris and Biao Xiang explore the complex impacts of environmental protection policies on the mobility of humans and non-humans.
In this video, Julia Morris and Biao Xiang explore MoLab’s new theme “linked Mobilities.” They discuss how projects around phosphate extraction and refugee processing in the Republic of Nauru, apparently unrelated, overlap and enable one another’s longevity. Historical memory plays a big part, as much as mutating legal and governance systems.
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