Welcome to Roadsides – a collaborative online publishing platform designed to be a forum devoted to exploring the social life of infrastructure. Roadsides is something between a blog, a working paper series, and a scrapbook of things, sounds, and images. We understand the title Roadsides as a metaphorical proxy for all sorts of engagements arising alongside roads, rail tracks, pipelines, border fences, airports, houses, dams, and other kinds of infrastructure as they are imagined, contested, constructed, and maintained, and as they fall into disrepair. The platform will offer space for reflection, for engaging in conversation with others, and a place to test new ideas before developing them into full-length articles and books.
The aim of Roadsides is to consider the work that infrastructure does culturally, politically, and socially, as well as the labour that goes into the making of infrastructure itself. We are also interested in the social biographies of materials, discourses, technologies, and knowledges out of which infrastructure is fashioned. A further aim of this platform is to understand how social relations are articulated through infrastructure, become layered into it, and produce new publics and subjectivities. The ways in which humans engage and disengage infrastructure, as well as how infrastructure (dis)engages humans will be at the core of the debate. At the same time, we want explicitly to embed infrastructure in topography and climate, and trace its trajectories through other-than-human temporalities. Devoting enough space to discussing and further developing an ethnographic methodology of infrastructure research is yet another goal for which we establish this platform.
We will publish two thematic collections of texts a year, each comprising several individual contributions. The aim of each contribution will be to introduce one central argument or a piece of analysis, and illustrate it with an ethnographic vignette, photographs, drawings, video clips and the like. The texts are meant to be short – around 1200 words each. In addition to texts, we welcome multisensory contributions combining word, image, and sound.
The intention of Roadsides is to create a graphically pleasing and, format-wise, lighter forum for exchange than a typical academic journal. Each collection on the website will represent an addition to a gradually developing debate in both textual and visual form. The calls for contributions to thematic collections will be published on the website twice a year.
Roadsides is a non-commercial project. The platform is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and hosted on the website of the research project ROADWORK. When further funding is secured, the platform will assume an independent online presence.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.