CFP AAG 2016: The Geography of Infrastructure: States, Nature, and Capital

CFP: The Geography of Infrastructure: States, Nature, and Capital

AAG 2016 San Francisco

The aim of this session is to explore how state theory can inform ongoing conversations within political ecology. Interest has been expressed for a higher-order explanation for environment-state relations that answers how and why resistance to accumulation by dispossession fails. Antonio Ioris has challenged political ecologists to ‘craft a political ecological framework for the state’ by focusing less on nebulous, dispersed models of power and more on the ‘organization, motivations and rationality, and limitations of the state’ (2015). The survival of many humans, and other non-human species, is increasingly precarious, and yet states respond with little else than the marketization of “everything under the sun” (Whitehead et al., 2007). We contend that to know the range of options and determining factors for what is possible under a neoliberal environmental state, scholars need to situate the state-capital relation within the broader capitalist system.

To ground this discussion empirically, we seek submissions for papers (in any stage of development) on the topic of the geography of infrastructure, i.e., the hardware, software, and organizational capacities that facilitate nature-society metabolism and social reproduction. The one-two punch of austerity-led neoliberalism and the Anthropocene are aggravating natural and socionatural pressures on energy, water, transportation, EMS, and waste-management infrastructures. We seek a greater understanding of the relations between political economies, ecologies and the function of the state in provisioning access to services in moments of systemic crisis, resolution, and relative stability. We are particularly interested in approaches to these topics that follow the dialectical tacking back-and-forth in the movement of the capitalist mode of production between class struggles and the compulsion of the state to reproduce capitalism. Also, we find the capitalist environmental state to be an exciting and promising frontier of research for early-career scholars and we especially welcome grad student submissions. Please consider submitting an abstract on any of the following areas within geography:

  • State theory, regulation theory, crisis theory
  • Infrastructures: Water, Waste, EMS, Transportation, Energy, Ideological State Apparatuses

Please email your abstracts before the deadline to the organizer:

Antonio Ioris will be joining the session and will serve as discussant for the papers.



Ioris, Antonio 2015 “Theorizing state-environment relationships: Antinomies of flexibility and legitimacy.” Progress in Human Geography 39 (2) 167-84

Whitehead, Mark, Rhys Jones, and Martin Jones 2007 The nature of the state: excavating the political ecologies of the modern state Oxford: Oxford UP