‘Eating mountains’ and ‘eating each other’: Disjunctive modernization, infrastructural imaginaries and crisis in Greece

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Abstract

Since the eruption of the Greek crisis in 2010 it has been almost impossible for the Greek state authorities to initiate any infrastructural project without significant local and wider resistance. In this paper we seek to answer how infrastructures became novel arenas of political conflict in Greece. We suggest that crucial for understanding this process is the dynamic relationship between infrastructures and popular political imaginaries. During the recent ‘golden’ period of infrastructural development in the country (mid-1990s to mid-2000s) there was a mutually constitutive relationship between popular imaginations of progress and the materiality of infrastructures, which attempted to underplay the disjunctive modernization processes within which that development took place. Later though, this parallel relationship between the two was contested as the infrastructural imaginary, which was transformed by the everyday discourses and practices created around infrastructure projects, blurred the expectations and imagination ascribed to the ‘glorious’ period of national success and modernization. In combination with the infrastructural gap of the crisis, the narrative dimension started taking over the materiality of infrastructures allowing it to take on a life of its own. Understanding the mechanisms of this relationship between imaginary and infrastructural materiality is key to comprehending the Greek economic crisis without a crisis essentialism that attributes every process into the crisis per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Geography
Volume67
Early online date19 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

Fingerprint

eating behavior
modernization
Greece
infrastructure
mountain
infrastructural development
political conflict
state authority
economic crisis
volcanic eruption
Mountains
Modernization
narrative
discourse
economics
Materiality
imagination
project

Keywords

  • Contestation
  • Crisis
  • Disjunctive modernization
  • Greece
  • Imagination
  • Infrastructure
  • European cities
  • infra-demos
  • infrastructural gap

Cite this

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abstract = "Since the eruption of the Greek crisis in 2010 it has been almost impossible for the Greek state authorities to initiate any infrastructural project without significant local and wider resistance. In this paper we seek to answer how infrastructures became novel arenas of political conflict in Greece. We suggest that crucial for understanding this process is the dynamic relationship between infrastructures and popular political imaginaries. During the recent ‘golden’ period of infrastructural development in the country (mid-1990s to mid-2000s) there was a mutually constitutive relationship between popular imaginations of progress and the materiality of infrastructures, which attempted to underplay the disjunctive modernization processes within which that development took place. Later though, this parallel relationship between the two was contested as the infrastructural imaginary, which was transformed by the everyday discourses and practices created around infrastructure projects, blurred the expectations and imagination ascribed to the ‘glorious’ period of national success and modernization. In combination with the infrastructural gap of the crisis, the narrative dimension started taking over the materiality of infrastructures allowing it to take on a life of its own. Understanding the mechanisms of this relationship between imaginary and infrastructural materiality is key to comprehending the Greek economic crisis without a crisis essentialism that attributes every process into the crisis per se.",
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