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Thinking through heterogeneity, serendipity, and autonomy in African cities
Mary Lawhon
Anesu Makina
, and
Gloria Nsangi Nakyagaba

While the imaginary of modern infrastructure remains prevalent in many places, it is increasingly coming into question, being replaced by other ways of imagining, building and governing infrastructure. In this chapter, we first consider what exactly is ‘modern’ about the ‘modern infrastructure ideal’ and how this relates to ongoing concerns with modernity as an imaginary of the world that is. We then examine two cases of infrastructure that work beyond modernity, teasing out some of the logics that shape how they work. In Kampala, we show how a new sanitation technology handbook works to legitimise onsite sanitation, offering users a decision-tree through which to consider a range of sociotechnical options. While there is homage paid to user heterogeneity, the handbook primarily focuses on the implications of environmental and technological heterogeneity. In South Africa, we consider the opportunities that arise through infrastructural labour that operates beyond modern conditions and the ways in which waste picking enables autonomy and serendipity. Broadly, we suggest the limitations of uniform services in contexts where nature, homes and residents are heterogeneous and the limits of standardised jobs for everyone in contexts where unemployment is high and individual socioeconomic conditions are unpredictable. Our argument here is not to romanticise already existing infrastructure, but instead, to contribute to teasing out an alternative imaginary that might shape ways of thinking beyond modern infrastructure. We call this a ‘modest’ imaginary, and suggest serendipity, autonomy, and heterogeneity play an increasingly important role in infrastructural configurations in an uncertain world.

in Turning up the heat
Abstract only
Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

Young people in migrant worker families in Ireland
Naomi Tyrrell

2006 Census (CSO, 2008). This pattern of settlement likely reflects both the policy of dispersing asylum seekers across Ireland and the employment sectors of migrant workers. Economic decline and rising unemployment in Ireland since 2008 have resulted in a decrease in immigration and an increase in emigration. The highest number of out-migrants between 2008 and 2009 were nationals of new EU accession states (CSO, 2009) as unemployment affected this group disproportionately, with an almost 20 per cent annual employment loss in 2009 compared with just 7 per cent for

in Spacing Ireland
Making work pay
Sally Daly

attempts to situate the behaviour and actions of growers and workers in relation to local and global economic processes.1 It explores how uneven production within horticulture, aligned with changes to state welfare provisions following accession of the EU-12, has impacted on migrant workers and their families. The migrant workforce has made it possible for Irish growers to invest in specific cropping choices in order to maintain production in a highly competitive market. Even with post-Celtic Tiger Ireland’s rising unemployment rates, rescaling and adaptations within the

in Spacing Ireland
The restructuring of work in Germany
Louise Amoore

social contributions in wages and taxes, and their competitors are closing the gap. In this context, much of the ‘Standort’ debate has focused on the exit of German companies to overseas production sites, with concern that high value-added manufacturing, such as the production of the BMW Z3 and Mercedes four-wheel drive vehicles, is moving to lower cost sites (Hancké, 1997; Gesamtmetall, 1997). With the unemployment rate at 8.3 per cent in 1999 (OECD, 2001), the neo-liberal case is bolstered by the argument that restructuring is required to loosen labour market

in Globalisation contested
The case of Denmark
Rolf Lyneborg Lund

other studies more centred around the deprivation thesis. The latter studies often focus on the composition of the local neighbourhood such as overall income levels, unemployment rates, crime rates or similar characteristics (Galster, 2010 ; Garner & Raudenbush, 1991 ; Gieryn, 2002 ; Johnson et al., 2017 ; Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000 ; Lund, 2019 , 2020 ; Potter et al., 2012 ; Sampson

in Rural quality of life
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Geographies of the post-boom era
Denis Linehan
Caroline Crowley

the economic crash in 2008, Irish society has been thrown into a tumultuous period of adjustment. The social and economic consequences of the crisis present Irish society with a series of new challenges related to high levels of unemployment, emigration and the social impacts of austerity programmes. However, as the Celtic Tiger was as much an imaginative construct as a material one, Irish society is presented with a double-barrelled betrayal. The collapse of the Celtic Tiger represented not only the decline of a certain economic model but also the disintegration of

in Spacing Ireland
The restructuring of work in Britain
Louise Amoore

organisations. The OECD, in its evaluation of member countries’ restructuring programmes in labour and work, commends Britain for ‘prominent structural policy reforms’, including cutting unemployment benefit, reducing employment protection and liberalising industrial relations (1997, 9-10). The report concludes that ‘improved labour market outcomes in the countries that have gone the furthest in implementing the Jobs Strategy, including the United Kingdom … and deteriorating conditions Amoore_Global_04_Ch3 73 6/19/02, 12:18 PM Globalisation contested 74 in those that

in Globalisation contested
Open Access (free)
An international political economy of work
Louise Amoore

work, for example, is having significant implications for paid and unpaid domestic and care work. Indeed, an exploration of the roles and functions of unemployment in a GPE is also fundamental to thinking about work and the governmentality of work. As the ILO’s ‘Decent Work’ agenda reminds us ‘almost everyone works, but not everyone is employed’ (1999b: 3). Societies face varied challenges and questions in their framing of future modes and forms of work. This will include necessary reflection on the function that unemployment or semi-employment may Amoore_Global_08

in Globalisation contested
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Spaces and spectres of Ireland after NAMA
Cian O’Callaghan

signifying the continued growth and well-being of the Celtic Tiger 22 Ghost estates economy. While for some, like McWilliams, their omnipresence was worrying, for many others new housing developments were simply business as usual. However, as the effects of the global credit crunch and Ireland’s entangled property market began to be felt more strongly – as the chronic hole in the banks’ capital became apparent, as unemployment soared in the construction industry, as empty estates were exposed by inactivity – ghost estates took on an iconic quality expressive of the

in Spacing Ireland