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Infrastructure, financial extraction and the global South

No struggle for social justice that lacks a grounded understanding of how wealth is accumulated within society, and by whom, is ever likely to make more than a marginal dent in the status quo. Much work has been done over the years by academics and activists to illuminate the broad processes of wealth extraction. But a constantly watchful eye is essential if new forms of financial extraction are to be blocked, short-circuited, deflected or unsettled. So when the World Bank and other well-known enablers of wealth extraction start to organise to promote greater private-sector involvement in ‘infrastructure’, for example through Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), alarm bells should start to ring. How are roads, bridges, hospitals, ports and railways being eyed up by finance? What bevels and polishes the lens through which they are viewed? How is infrastructure being transformed into an ‘asset class’ that will yield the returns now demanded by investors? Why now? What does the reconfiguration of infrastructure tell us about the vulnerabilities of capital? The challenge is not only to understand the mechanisms through which infrastructure is being reconfigured to extract wealth: equally important is to think through how activists might best respond. What oppositional strategies genuinely unsettle elite power instead of making it stronger?

Małgorzata Jakimów

life in Beijing, while suffering domestic violence and the hardship of life as a single mother. After joining the literary classes provided by NBW, she made a sweeping entry as China's hottest real-life novelist in 2017 with her blog posts describing life in Beijing from migrant perspectives. And although the blog was quickly censored, and the author, overwhelmed by fame, went temporarily into hiding, the cultural activities of a small NGO, which for years has nurtured talented migrants such as Fan Yusu, brought an unexpectedly broad impact. The blog was shared 100

in China’s citizenship challenge
Nicholas Hildyard

Chapter 5 Infrastructure corridors, frontier finance and the vulnerabilities of capital The instability of infrastructure-as-asset-class and the reluctance of investors to back higher-risk, new, so-called ‘greenfield’ projects are creating a major problem for the smooth expansion of globalised capital. For infrastructure-as-asset-class is more than just a rent grab by finance or an opportunity for derivative traders to make a quick buck by constructing a superstructure of complex financial trades on the back of state-backed guarantees – though it is certainly

in Licensed larceny
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Brian Rosa

their arches has been as a backdrop to working-class urban neighbourhoods, most famously in the opening credits of Coronation Street. Indeed, with Granada Studios having had a long-standing presence in Castlefield – the place where railway viaducts dominate most spectacularly – one can argue that the perpetration of industrial and railway landscapes as sites of lurid, urban twilight zones has constantly been reinforced for the sake of convenience. Why not have Sherlock Holmes chasing a suspect along the shadowy canals beneath the railways in Castlefield? After all

in Manchester
Sarah Kunz

resource distributed unevenly and in interconnected ways, playing a crucial role in the differentiation of global society (Cresswell 2010 ). Social class, constituted in economic, cultural and social capital, including wealth and educational qualifications, is important in facilitating the itinerant lifestyle that the expatriate narrates (Fechter 2007 ; Leonard 2010abc ). More decisive still, citizenship has become the key ‘resource for mobility’ today (Shachar 2009 ), and in particular European and North American citizenships represent ‘a crucial form of

in Expatriate
Infrastructure-as-asset-class
Nicholas Hildyard

Chapter 4 Extraction in motion: infrastructure-as-asset-class 4.1 Yield hogs For investors, ‘infrastructure’ is now an ‘asset class’,1 the boundaries of which are limited only by the ability of finance to build new contracted income streams that extract wealth, directly or indirectly, from the activities that surround the funding, construction and operation of infrastructure facilities. What started off with investments in so-called economic infrastructure (utilities, roads, ports, airports and the like) now include investments in resource/ commodity

in Licensed larceny
Luiz Eduardo Soares

victims of murder have ‘a colour, a class and an address’. And in making the victims visible, in humanising the data, he argues that Rio de Janeiro can be seen as a microcosm of the country at large. Soares has described his own paradoxical love–hate relationship with the city in the extraordinary book Rio de Janeiro: Extreme city ( 2016 ). The book is part autobiography of his own attempts to challenge the pandemic of violent death, and part an interdisciplinary mixture of a sociology of the city’s favelas, an anthropology of the regimes of metropolitan governance

in Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city
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Following a migration category
Author:

What does expatriate mean? Who gets described as an expatriate rather than a migrant? And why do such distinctions matter? Following the expatriate explores these questions by tracing the postcolonial genealogy of the category expatriate from mid-twentieth-century decolonisation to current debates about migration, and examining the current stakes of debates about expatriates. As the book shows, the question of who is an expatriate was as hotly debated in 1961 as it is today. Back then, as now, it was entangled in the racialised, classed and gendered politics of migration and mobility. Combining ethnographic and historical research, the book discusses uses of the expatriate across academic literature, corporate management and international development practice, personal memory projects, and urban diaspora spaces in The Hague and Nairobi. It tells situated stories about the category’s making and remaking, its contestation and the lived experience of those labelled expatriate. By attending to racialised, gendered and classed struggles over who is an expatriate, the book shows that migration categories are at the heart of how intersecting material and symbolic social inequalities are enacted today. Any project for social justice thus needs to dissect and dismantle categories like the expatriate, and the book offers innovative analytical and methodological strategies to advance this project.

Labour NGOs and the struggle for migrant workers’ rights

In twenty-first-century Chinese cities there are hundreds of millions of rural migrants who are living temporary lives, suspended between urban and rural China. They are the unsung heroes of the country’s ‘economic miracle’, yet are regarded as second-class citizens in both a cultural, material and legal sense. China’s citizenship challenge tells the story of how civic organisations set up by some of these rural migrants challenge this citizenship marginalisation. The book argues that in order to effectively address the problems faced by migrant workers, these NGOs must undertake ‘citizenship challenge’: the transformation of migrant workers’ social and political participation in public life, the broadening of their access to labour and other rights, and the reinvention of their relationship to the city. By framing the NGOs’ activism in terms of citizenship rather than class struggle, this book offers a valuable contribution to the field of labour movement studies in China. The monograph also proves exceptionally timely in the context of the state’s repression of these organisations in recent years, which, as the book explores, was largely driven by their citizenship-altering activism.

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Phil Hubbard

and restaurants widening the range of attractions. By the time mass entertainment arrived in the form of cinemas, the Winter Gardens (1911) and the US-style amusement park Dreamland (modelled on Coney Island, and opened in 1919), the town was developing a reputation as a more working-class resort, as noted by Charles Harper in his 1914 perambulation of the Kent coast: Margate the Merry is the oldest and most popular of English seaside resorts and in some opinions, the

in Borderland