CI Studies Primer

Approaches to Infrastructure Studies: A Critical Infrastructure Studies Primer

A selection from the bibliography representing a subset of approaches to infrastructure, with a handful of recommended readings for each. (Curated by Alan Liu)

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(Page created 31 Jan. 2018; last rev. 2 Sept. 2019)

Ethnographical Approaches to Infrastructure

Edwards, Paul N. “Infrastructure and Modernity: Force, Time, and Social Organization in the History of Sociotechnical Systems.” In Modernity and Technology, 185–225. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. Cite
Edwards, Paul N., Steven J. Jackson, Geoffrey C. Bowker, and Cory P. Knobel. “Understanding Infrastructure: Dynamics, Tensions, and Design: Report of a Workshop on ‘History & Theory of Infrastructure: Lessons for New Scientific Cyberinfrastructures.’” University of Michigan Library, Deep Blue Repository, June 2007. Cite
Neumann, Laura J., and Susan Leigh Star. “Making Infrastructure: The Dream of a Common Language.” Participatory Design, 1996, 231–40. Cite
Star, Susan Leigh. “The Ethnography of Infrastructure.” American Behavioral Scientist 43, no. 3 (1999): 377–91. Cite
Star, Susan Leigh, and Karen Ruhleder. “Steps Toward an Ecology of Infrastructure: Design and Access For Large Information Spaces.” Information Systems Research 7, no. 1 (1996): 111–34. Cite

Science Technology Studies (STS) Approaches to Infrastructure

Graham, Stephen, and Nigel Thrift. “Out of Order: Understanding Repair and Maintenance.” Theory, Culture, and Society 24, no. 3 (2007): 10–11. Cite
Henke, Christopher R. “The Mechanics of Workplace Order: Toward a Sociology of Repair.” Berkeley Journal of Sociology 44, no. 1999–2000 (1999): 55–81. Cite
Hughes, Thomas P. Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983. Cite
Jackson, Steven J. “Rethinking Repair.” In Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality and Society, 221–40. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2014. Cite
Latour, Bruno. “On Technical Mediation: Philosophy, Sociology, Genealogy.” Common Knowledge 3, no. 2 (1994): 29–64. Cite
Mattern, Shannon. “Maintenance and Care.” Places Journal, 2018. Cite
Russell, Andrew, and Lee Vinsel. “Hail the Maintainers.” Aeon, 2016. Cite
Strebel, Ignaz, Alain Bovet, and Philippe Sormani, eds. Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality. Palgrave McMillan, 2018. Cite

Urban Planning, Landscape Design, Architecture & Infrastructure

Bélanger, Pierre. Landscape as Infrastructure: A Base Primer. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge, 2017. Cite
Graham, Stephen, and Simon Marvin. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. London ; New York: Routledge, 2001. Cite
Hanley, Richard, ed. Moving People, Goods, and Information in the 21st Century: The Cutting-Edge Infrastructures of Networked Cities. The Networked Cities Series. London ; New York: Routledge, 2004. Cite
Klose, Alexander. The Container Principle: How a Box Changes the Way We Think. Infrastructures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015. Cite
Koolhaas, Rem. “Junkspace.” October 100, no. Spring 2002 (2002): 175–90. Cite
Mattern, Shannon. Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Cite
Oroza, Ernesto. “Architecture of Necessity.” Architecture of Necessity - by Ernesto Oroza, 2006. Cite
Seewang, Laila. “Skeleton Forms: The Architecture of Infrastructure.” Scenario Journal, no. 3, Rethinking Infrastructure (2013). Cite

Logistics & Waste Studies Approaches to Infrastructure

Bélanger, Pierre, and Alexander S. Arroyo. Ecologies of Power: Countermapping the Logistical Landscapes & Military Geographies of the U.S. Department of Defense. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2016. Cite
Ezban, Michael. “Aqueous Ecologies: Parametric Aquaculture and Urbanism.” Scenario Journal, no. 3, Rethinking Infrastructure (2013). Cite
Feilhauer, Matthias, and Soenke Zehle, eds. Ethics of Waste in the Information Society (Special Issue of International Review of Information Ethics). No. 11. Vol. 11. International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE), 2009. Cite
Gabrys, Jennifer. Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. Ann: University of Michigan Press, 2011. Cite
Heins, Matthew W. “The Shipping Container and the Globalization of American Infrastructure.” Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2013. Cite
Offenhuber, Dietmar. Waste Is Information: Infrastructure Legibility and Governance. Infrastructures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017. Cite
Rossiter, Ned. “Logistical Worlds.” Cultural Studies Review 20, no. 1 (2014): 53. Cite
Rossiter, Ned. “Locative Media as Logistical Media: Situating Infrastructure and the Governance of Labor in Supply-Chain Capitalism.” Blog. Organized Networks (blog), 2014. Cite
Rossiter, Ned. Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2016. Cite
Rothenberg, Janell. “‘World-World’ Logistics in Tangier, Morocco.” Limn, no. 10 (April 2018). Cite
Ty, Michelle. “Trash and the Ends of Infrastructure.” MSF Modern Fiction Studies 61, no. 4 (2015): 606–30. Cite

Animals & Infrastructure

Andrews, Kimberly M., Priya Nanjappa, and Seth P. D. Riley, eds. Roads and Ecological Infrastructure: Concepts and Applications for Small Animals. Wildlife Management and Conservation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press : Published in association with The Wildlife Society, 2015. Cite
Sage, Daniel, Andrew Dainty, Kjell Tryggestad, Lise Justesen, and Jan Mouritsen. “Building with Wildlife: Project Geographies and Cosmopolitics in Infrastructure Construction.” Construction Management and Economics 32, no. 7–8 (2014): 773–86. Cite
World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Infrastructure Threats -- WWF.” World Wildlife Fund, 2019. Cite

Environmental Approaches to Infrastructure (in connection with energy, mining, oil, transportation, and related studies)

Brown, Hillary. “Infrastructural Ecologies.” Places Journal, 2010. Cite
Gabrys, Jennifer. Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. Ann: University of Michigan Press, 2011. Cite
Hetherington, Kregg, ed. Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene. Experimental Futures. Durham: Duke University Press, 2019. Cite
Holden, Jason, and Christopher Kelty. “The Environmental Impact of the Manufacturing of Semiconductors.” In Medianatures: The Materiality of Information Technology and Electronic Waste. Living Books About Life. Open Humanities Press, 2011. Cite
Misrach, Richard, and Kate Orff. Petrochemical America. 1st ed. New York: Aperture, 2012. Cite
Starosielski, Nicole, and Janet Walker, eds. Sustainable Media: Critical Approaches to Media and Environment. New York: Routledge, 2016. Cite
Studer, Meg. “NaCl: Operations Enabling Emptiness.” Scenario Journal, no. 3, Rethinking Infrastructure (2013). Cite
Waldheim, Charles. “On Landscape, Ecology, and Other Modifiers to Urbanism.” Scenario Journal, no. 1, Landscape Urbanism (2011). Cite

Media infrastructures & Materialities of information

Blanchette, Jean-François. “A Material History of Bits.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 62, no. 6 (2011): 1042–57. Cite
Holt, Jennifer, and Patrick Vonderau. “‘Where the Internet Lives’: Data Centers as Cloud Infrastructure.” In Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures, edited by Lisa Parks and Nicole Starosielski, 71–93. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015. Cite
Mattern, Shannon. “Deep Time of Media Infrastructure.” In Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures, 94–114. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015. Cite
Montfort, Nick, and Ian Bogost. Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System. Platform Studies. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009. Cite
Parikka, Jussi, ed. Medianatures: The Materiality of Information Technology and Electronic Waste. Living Books About Life. Open Humanities Press, 2011. Cite
Parks, Lisa. “Media Infrastructures and Affect.” Flow Journal, 2014. Cite
Parks, Lisa. “Stuff You Can Kick: Toward a Theory of Media Infrastructures.” In Between Humanities and the Digital, 355–73. MIT Press, 2015. Cite
Parks, Lisa, and Nicole Starosielski, eds. Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. The Geopolitics of Information. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2015. Cite
Starosielski, Nicole. The Undersea Network. Sign, Storage, Transmission. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015. Cite

Feminist Approaches to Infrastructure

Balsamo, Anne. Feminism, Technology, and Systems 2: Infrastructure. Vimeo streaming. FemTechNet/DOCC 2013: Dialogues on Feminism and Technology. New York City: School of Media Studies, The New School, 2013. Cite
Brown, Susan, Tanya Clement, Laura Mandell, Deb Verhoeven, and Jacqueline Wernimont. “Creating Feminist Infrastructure in the Digital Humanities." Abstract for Panel at DH 2016 Conference, Kraków.” In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts, 47–50. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, 2016. Cite
Suchman, Lucy. Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Cite
Verhoeven, Deb. “As Luck Would Have It: Serendipity and Solace in Digital Research Infrastructure.” Feminist Media Histories 2, no. 1 (2016): 7–28. Cite
Wilson, Ara. “The Infrastructure of Intimacy.” Signs 41, no. 2 (2016): 247–80. Cite

Race & Ethnicity Approaches to Infrastructure

Leker, Hannah Gordon, and Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson. “Relationship between Race and Community Water and Sewer Service in North Carolina, USA.” PLOS ONE 13, no. 3 (2018): e0193225. Cite
Nemser, Daniel. Infrastructures of Race: Concentration and Biopolitics in Colonial Mexico. First edition. Border Hispanisms. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017. Cite
Nguyen, Hoa-Thi-Minh, Tom Kompas, Trevor Breusch, and Michael B. Ward. “Language, Mixed Communes, and Infrastructure: Sources of Inequality and Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam.” World Development 96 (2017): 145–62. Cite
Noble, Safiya Umoja. Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York: New York University Press, 2018. Cite
Rana, Junaid. “The Racial Infrastructure of the Terror-Industrial Complex.” Social Text 34, no. 4 129 (2016): 111–38. Cite

Postcolonial Approaches to Infrastructure

Boehmer, Elleke, and Dominic Davies. Planned Violence: Post/Colonial Urban Infrastructure, Literature and Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Cite
Hetherington, Kregg, and Jeremy M. Campbell. “Nature, Infrastructure, and the State: Rethinking Development in Latin America: Nature, Infrastructure, and the State.” The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19, no. 2 (2014): 191–94. Cite
Larkin, Brian. Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure, and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008. Cite
Rubenstein, Michael. Public Works: Infrastructure, Irish Modernism, and the Postcolonial. Notre Dame, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press, 2010. Cite
Savonick, Danica. “‘The Problem of Locomotion’: Infrastructure and Automobility in Three Postcolonial Urban Nigerian Novels.” MSF Modern Fiction Studies 61, no. 4 (2015): 669–89. Cite
Von Schnitzler, Antina. “Traveling Technologies: Infrastructure, Ethical Regimes, and the Materiality of Politics in South Africa.” Cultural Anthropology 28, no. 4 (2013): 670–93. Cite

Disability & Accessibility Studies & Infrastructure

Foley, Alan. “Distance, Disability, and the Commodification of Education: Web Accessibility and the Construction of Knowledge.” Current Issues in Comparative Education 6, no. 1 (2003): 27–39. Cite
Jaeger, Paul T. “Disability, Human Rights, and Social Justice: The Ongoing Struggle for Online Accessibility and Equality.” First Monday 20, no. 9 (September 10, 2015). Cite
Lewthwaite, Sarah. “Web Accessibility Standards and Disability: Developing Critical Perspectives on Accessibility.” Disability and Rehabilitation 36, no. 16 (2014): 1375–83. Cite
Priestley, Mark, and Laura Hemingway. “Disability and Disaster Recovery: A Tale of Two Cities?” Journal of Social Work in Disability & Rehabilitation 5, no. 3–4 (2007): 23–42. Cite
Roberts, Peter, and Julie Babinard. “Transport Strategy to Improve Accessibility in Developing Countries,” 9. World Bank, 2004. Cite
Seale, Jane. E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice. London ; New York: Routledge, 2006. Cite
Vanderheiden, Gregg, and Jutta Treviranus. “Creating a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure.” In Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Design for All and EInclusion, edited by Constantine Stephanidis, 6765:517–26. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2011. Cite

Digital humanities & Infrastructure

Anderson, Sheila. “What Are Research Infrastructures?” Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing 7, no. 1–2 (2013): 4–23. Cite
Benardou, Agiatis, Eric Champion, Costis Dallas, and Lorna M. Hughes. Cultural Heritage Infrastructures in Digital Humanities. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2017. Cite
Blanchette, Jean-François. “Computing as If Infrastructure Mattered.” Communications of the ACM 55, no. 10 (2012): 32–34. Cite
Kirk, Ann M., EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, et al. Digital Humanities: A Framework for Institutional Planning (ECAR Working Group Paper). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research, 2017. Cite
Smithies, James. “Towards a Systems Analysis of the Humanities.” In The Digital Humanities and the Digital Modern, 113–51. Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 2017. Cite

Literary & Artistic Explorations of Infrastructure

Dayton, Tim. Muriel Rukeyser’s the Book of the Dead. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2015. Cite
Hussain, Nasser. SKY WRI TEI NGS. Toronto: Coach House, 2018. Cite
Rukeyser, Muriel. The Book of the Dead (Annotated Online Version). Annotated version. Muriel Rukeyser: A Living Archive, 1938. Cite
Scappettone, Jennifer. The Republic of Exit 43: Outtakes & Scores from an Archaeology and Pop-up Opera of the Corporate Dump. Berkeley, CA: Atelos, 2016. Cite
Davies, Dominic. Imperial Infrastructure and Spatial Resistance in Colonial Literature, 1880-1930. Race and Resistance across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century 2. Oxford ; New York: Peter Lang, 2017. Cite
Lu, Pamela. Ambient Parking Lot. Berkeley, CA: Kenning Editions, 2011. Cite
Marshall, Kate. Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013. Cite
Rubenstein, Michael, Bruce Robbins, and Sophia Beal. “Infrastructuralism: An Introduction.” MSF Modern Fiction Studies 61, no. 4 (2015): 575–86. Cite
Smith, Brady. “SF, Infrastructure, and the Anthropocene: Reading Moxyland and Zoo City.” Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 3, no. 3 (2016): 345–59. Cite
Burtynsky, Edward, and Michael Mitchell, eds. Burtynsky: Oil. 3. ed. Göttingen: Steidl/Corcoran, 2014. Cite
Burtynsky, Edward, and Michael Mitchell. Edward Burtynsky: Quarries: The Quarry Photographs of Edward Burtynsky. 1. ed. Göttingen: Steidl, 2007. Cite
Burtynsky, Edward, Wade Davis, and Russell Lord, eds. Burtynsky, Water. 2. ed. Göttingen: Steidl, 2014. Cite
Mann, Paho, and Nancy Levinson. “The Art of Solid Waste.” Places Journal, 2010. Cite
Misrach, Richard, Guillermo Galindo, and Josh Kun, eds. Border Cantos. New York: Aperture, 2016. Cite
Palmer, A. Laurie. In the Aura of a Hole: Exploring Sites of Material Extraction. Black Dog, 2014. Cite
Turan, Neyran. “Museum of Lost Volumes.” Scenario Journal, 2015. Cite
Wasmuht, Corinne. “Exhibits of Corrine Wasmuht’s Paintings at the Petzel Gallery,” 2006. Cite

Security & Infrastructure (risk society, mission-critical, and disaster infrastructure studies approaches)

Aradau, Claudia. “Security That Matters: Critical Infrastructure and Objects of Protection.” Security Dialogue 41, no. 5 (2010): 491–514. Cite
Cavelty, Myriam Dunn, and Kristian Søby Kristensen, eds. Securing “the Homeland”: Critical Infrastructure, Risk and (in)Security. CSS Studies in Security and International Relations. London ; New York: Routledge, 2008. Cite
CEISMIC. “CEISMIC: Canterbury Earthquake Digital Archive.” Archive. CEISMIC, 2011. Cite
Coward, Martin. “Network-Centric Violence, Critical Infrastructure and the Urbanization of Security.” Security Dialogue 40, no. 4–5 (2009): 399–418. Cite
Finn, Megan. Documenting Aftermath: Information Infrastructures in the Wake of Disasters. Infrastructures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018. Cite
Rochlin, Gene I. Trapped in the Net: The Unanticipated Consequences of Computerization. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998. Cite
Study Group on Infrastructure and Society. The Logic of Cascading: Infrastructural Perspectives on a Post-Disaster Situation (Issue 3 of Disaster, Infrastructure and Society:  Learning from the 2011 Earthquake in Japan). Study Group on Infrastructure and Society, 2012. Cite
Thorp, Jer. “All the Names: Algorithmic Design and the 9/11 Memorial.” Blog. Blprnt.Blg (blog), June 10, 2011. Cite

Institutional/Organizational Studies & Infrastructure

DiMaggio, Paul J., and Walter W. Powell. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organization Fields.” In The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis, 63–82. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1991. Cite
Freidson, Eliot. Professional Powers: A Study of the Institutionalization of Formal Knowledge. Paperback ed., [4. Dr.]. Chicago, Ill.,: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993. Cite
Greenwood, Royston, Christine Oliver, Roy Suddaby, and Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson, eds. The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. Los Angeles London New Delhi Singapore: SAGE, 2008. Cite
Greenwood, Royston, Roy Suddaby, and C. R. Hinings. “Theorizing Change: The Role of Professional Associations in the Transformation of Institutionalized Fields.” Academy of Management Journal 45, no. 1 (2002): 58–80. Cite
Powell, Walter W., and DiMaggio, Paul J., eds. The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Cite
Scott, W. Richard. Institutions and Organizations: Ideas, Interests, and Identities. Fourth edition. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2014. Cite

Organizational-Technology Studies & Infrastructure

Barley, Stephen R. “Technology as an Occasion for Structuring: Evidence from Observations of CT Scanners and the Social Order of Radiology Departments.” Administrative Science Quarterly 31, no. 1 (1986): 78–108. Cite
Bijker, Wiebe E., Thomas Parke Hughes, and Trevor Pinch, eds. The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology. Anniversary ed. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2012. Cite
Kim, Hee-Woong, and Atreyi Kankanhalli. “Investigating User Resistance to Information Systems Implementation: A Status Quo Bias Perspective.” MIS Quarterly 33, no. 3 (2009): 567–82. Cite
Orlikowski, Wanda J. “The Duality of Technology: Rethinking the Concept of Technology in Organizations.” Organization Science 3, no. 3 (1992): 398–427. Cite
Weick, Karl E. “Technology as Equivoque: Sensemaking in New Technologies.” In Technology and Organizations, 1–44. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990. Cite
Williamson, Ben. “The Hidden Architecture of Higher Education: Building a Big Data Infrastructure for the ‘Smarter University.’” International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 15, no. 12 (2018). Cite
Wulf, Volker, and Volkmar Pipek. “Infrastructuring: Toward an Integrated Perspective on the Design and Use of Information Technology.” Semantic Scholar, 2009. Cite