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The Social and Political Life of Latin American Infrastructures
edited by Jonathan Alderman and Geoff Goodwin
University of London Press, 2022
Paper: 978-1-908857-95-8

Understanding Latin American identity, history, and politics through its infrastructure and architecture.

From roads, railways, statues, and bridges, infrastructure provides a unique lens through which to view our own national histories and societies. Serving as an important conduit between individuals and the state, infrastructure can help mediate citizenship, reshape social relations between people both within and across communities, and has the capacity to underpin—or indeed, undermine—nation-building.

Over the last century, infrastructure has transformed Latin America. Roads, railways, and airports have increased connectivity between spaces, peoples, and markets. Cables, switches, and tunnels have connected households to electricity grids, water systems, and digital technology. Public buildings, parks, and monuments have reshaped towns and cities and emerged as sites to construct and contest citizenship. Infrastructure has been welcomed and celebrated in Latin America, but it has also been resisted and destroyed.

Based on recent, original research, the essays in this collection cover a range of pressing infrastructural considerations, including sustainability, water conflict, extractive mining, and public housing in Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico to better understand how infrastructure has reshaped Latin America over the past century.

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