Annals of the American Association of Geographers
This article addresses recent valorizations of infrastructure as a vital lens for understanding and explaining the constitution of modern life. It argues that greater care needs to be shown toward the evental (or events-led) underpinnings of infrastructure, in order to accurately grasp the latter’s space-ordering powers. Indeed, existing work on infrastructure has tended to stress the post-formative political effects of infrastructure, omitting the events-led triggers that continually reproduce technoscience realities. Even among scholars who recognize the role of social agencies in technoscience production, the propensity remains to treat these interactions as a bundle of rational negotiations and contestations that then go on to determine infrastructure’s final forms. To foster new appreciations of the deep dynamics responsible for infrastructure’s production, this article uses the case of an airspace upgrade in the South China Sea to demonstrate the centrality of events—including engineered ones—in steering technoscience development in air transport. It considers how a series of reframings, ruptures and catastrophes—corresponding with commercial, affective and accidental events—have precipitated fifteen years of modifications to airspace infrastructure in Southeast Asia. Analyzing two aviation report-series alongside meeting proceedings, news articles and semi-structured interviews with a post-qualitative touch, the article calls for renewed attention on the various exigencies that uncertainly drive infrastructural (and wider spatial) outcomes. The article concludes by reflecting on the theoretical purchase of evental infrastructure, and the momentous geographies through which its politics must be tackled.
Lin, W. (2020). Evental infrastructure: Momentous geographies of technoscience production. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2020.1724766