University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Political Ecology Group meetings > Discussion: ‘In the Nature of the Non-City: Expanded Infrastructural Networks and the Political Ecology of Planetary Urbanisation’ by Martín Arboleda

Discussion: ‘In the Nature of the Non-City: Expanded Infrastructural Networks and the Political Ecology of Planetary Urbanisation’ by Martín Arboleda

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This paper proposes extending Urban Political Ecology’s (UPE) ideas about the urbanisation of nature in order to include the geographical imprints of expanding, global metabolic flows of matter, energy and capital. It does so through the analysis of Huasco, a small agricultural village in northern Chile that has been overburdened with massive energy undertakings aimed at powering the operations of mines that supply raw materials to international markets. Like the sewage and technological networks that feed the life of cities, the paper argues that Huasco—as a metabolic vehicle of planetary urbanisation—has also been hidden from view, and thus the fetishisation of urban infrastructural networks initially theorised by UPE , has been ratcheted-up to the global level by the mediating powers of neoliberalising capitalism. Just as the socio-material arrangements that facilitate the smooth functioning of the modern city and household are riddled with glitches and exclusions, the paper suggests that globally up-scaled infrastructures reveal even larger contradictions that put into jeopardy the very premises upon which the ongoing commodification of nature is grounded.

This talk is part of the Political Ecology Group meetings series.

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