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Networks, Infrastructures, and World-making

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Working Group Conception

As part of our project’s broader agenda, our working group will map the various relays and connections between internal and external political arenas that are forged and deepened by authoritarian populist regimes. More specifically, we will assess how transnational networks bolstering populist power in different states connect internal and external infrastructure projects. We will compare how worldly imaginations and transnationally networked institutional infrastructures legitimate and consolidate populist power in different states and world regions. With a particular eye on civilizational claims, we will investigate forces like developmental nationalism, both as webs of narratives and structural transformations of transregional connections.

In terms of historical comparisons, one of our basic assumptions is that contemporary versions of civilizationisms function in a more multi-polar and technologically advanced world than in the 19th and early 20th century. They are a contested force expressed not only through cultural, normative and ideological dimensions, but also infrastructural, digital and ‘developmental’ projects that are more tangible than the mission civilisatrice. Contesting norms are embedded in digital and other infrastructures and investment, respectively funding practices that become modes of mobilizing and dominating domestic and foreign populations. 


Reading List