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Roads and the politics of thought: Ethnographic approaches to infrastructure development in South Asia

Objective

New roads are being constructed at unprecedented rates in certain parts of the world. The proposed research will ask: Why? To what end? Who benefits? What ideas lie in the foundations of this new infrastructure? Roads are presented as solutions to poverty, ‘development’ and economic growth? Are they? In what ways? What else might roads do? As cheap oil dwindles and questions of climate change remain, why are so many international institutions cultivating new roads?

The project will provide the first ethnographic account of the culture of road builders, their knowledge practices, inter-relations and motivations. The research will be rooted in case studies of particular road projects in Pakistan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. These sites have been selected to bring to the fore how nation-building, neo-liberalism, ambition, environmental vulnerability and modernity feature in contemporary road-building. We will look at the organisation of road building on the ground, in offices, and within a broader array of institutions and state bodies in national and international contexts in order to understand the global cultures of road-building practice.

The project is academic in design and will contribute to various pressing and critical debates relating to power, global justice and environmental futures. The subject also merits wider discussion and at the core of the research design is an innovative collaboration between anthropologists and leading contemporary artists.

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-CoG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-CG - ERC Consolidator Grants

Host institution

SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES ROYAL CHARTER
Address
Thornhaugh Street Russel Square
WC1H OXG London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 212 468,70
Principal investigator
Edward Simpson (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Tanya Roumelioti (Mrs.)

Beneficiaries (3)

SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES ROYAL CHARTER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 212 468,70
Address
Thornhaugh Street Russel Square
WC1H OXG London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Edward Simpson (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Tanya Roumelioti (Mrs.)
THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 591 274,50
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Angela Noble (Ms.)
Critical Art and Media Practices (CAMP)
India
EU contribution
€ 194 415,60
Address
8 Punam Chs, 29/30 Union Park, Khar (W)
400052 Mumbai
Activity type
Other
Administrative Contact
Ashok Sukumaran (Mr.)