a workshop with professor Penny Harvey (University of Manchester)
Tampere University
May 2, 2022
time 11.00-18.00 (up to date programme below)

Infrastructures can refer to both material and institutional structures that enable and/or restrict people’s actions. In addition, they can be manifestations of power, they affect social relations and understandings of the environment and have both intended and unintended consequences. People seldom pay much attention to infrastructures unless particular infrastructures do not function properly causing hardships in everyday lives. In other words, infrastructures are often invisible, yet necessary.

‘Infrastructure’ has become increasingly visible as a ‘site’ of ethnographic and theoretical attention. Rather than considering their technological characteristics, anthropologists focus on how people use, understand, and experience infrastructures, the effects they have on people’s lives and the political struggles that revolve around infrastructural projects. In addition, anthropologists investigate the meanings people give to infrastructures and the entanglements of hopes, fears and politics related to infrastructural projects.

In this workshop, scholars are invited to discuss the significance of infrastructures in their various ongoing research projects. We invite the participants to give 5-10-minute-long oral presentations in which they elaborate on why and how particular infrastructures are important in their studies. The aim of the workshop is to discuss infrastructures from various angles showing the richness of the topic and to elaborate on why it is important to look at infrastructures from an anthropological perspective.

We recommend participants to read in advance two articles (see details below). The workshop is chaired by Professor Penny Harvey. In the beginning she will present the articles and the wider debates that surround them.

If you want to present in the workshop, please send a summary of your research with reflections on how you currently use, or on how you think you could deploy an ‘infrastructural perspective’ (maximum 400 words) to dimitri.ollikainen@nulltuni.fi by April 11th, 2022. The number of participants will be limited; the selection will be made within a week from the deadline.

Members of the Finnish Anthropological Society are prioritized as presenters but others can present if there is space. Instructions on how to join the Finnish Anthropological Society can be found here http://www.antropologinenseura.fi/en/membership/

You are welcome to participate also without presenting a paper but prior registration is needed.

The event is organized by the Finnish Anthropological Society and the social anthropologists of Tampere University in collaboration with the projects Governance and Grieving: Disappearing Migrants and Emergent Politics, Tampere University and New regimes of commodification and state formation on the resource frontier of Southeast Asia, University of Helsinki

Funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation

Event on facebook.

Further information: dimitri.ollikainen@nulltuni.fi


Devine, Kyle and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. (eds) 2021. ‘Making Infrastructures Audible’ in Audible Infrastructures: Music, Sound, Media. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-55.

Harvey, Penny, Casper Bruun Jensen and Atsuro Morita. (eds) 2017. ‘Introduction: Infrastructural Complications’ in Infrastructures and Social Complexity: A Companion. Routledge. pp. 1-22.

Penny Harvey is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She also held the position of Professor II at the University of Oslo (2012-2019) and previously at the University of Bergen, and was recently elected to the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She has carried out ethnographic research in Peru, Spain and the UK and published widely on issues of politics and power; language and communicative practice; technology, infrastructure, and engineering expertise; materiality; and contemporary practices of modern statecraft. She is currently engaged in a long-term ethnographic project on ‘Nuclear Life’ in the U.K. Her publications include Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (with H. Knox), Cornell University Press, 2015; Infrastructures and Social Complexity (edited with C. B. Jensen and A. Morita), Routledge 2016; and Anthropos and the Material: Anthropological Reflections on Emerging Political Formations (edited with C. Krohn-Hansen and K. Nustad) Duke University Press 2019.
Read more about Penny Harvey and her work on: https://pennyharveywebsite.wordpress.com/

A workshop May 2nd, 2020 

Anthropology and Infrastructures 

a workshop with professor Penny Harvey (University of Manchester) 


Monday May 2nd, 2020 
Location: University of Tampere, Linna 5026, Kalevantie 5, 33100 Tampere 

11.00 -11.05  Welcome  
11.05-11.55  Penny Harvey: Thinking with Infrastructures: Limits and Possibilities Link to the zoom for the presentation by Penny Harvey:  
12.00-13.00  Lunch break. At participants own expense. 
13.15-13.35  Anu Lounela: Infrastructuring wetlands in Central Kalimantan: connections and disconnections Tuomas Tammisto: Roads, natural resources and spatialized power in Papua New Guinea 
13.35-13.50  Discussion 
13.50-14.10  Mira Käkönen: Entangled enclaves: Dams and the Chinese infrastructural engagement in Cambodia Lalli Metsola: Relational infrastructuring in Windhoek, Namibia 
14.10-14.25  Discussion 
14.25-14.40  Laura Huttunen: Inequalities of visibility: Missing persons and infrastructures of search and identification  Anna Matyska: Labours of transnational tracing infrastructure: cooperation and competition in the search for the missing persons 
14.40-14.55  Discussion 
15.00-15.30  Coffee break 
15.30-15.50  Kirsikka Grön, Zhuo Chen, Minna Ruckenstein: Relational concerns: platform infrastructures in Hangzhou, China Zhuo Chen: Inhabiting the City Brain – Values and Materialities of the smart infrastructure in Hangzhou, Chin 
15.50-16.05  Discussion 
16.05-16.25  Kamilla Karhunmaa, Mira Käkönen: Enabling net-zero futures: The afterlife of knowledge infrastructures in post-Paris offsetting Mari Korpela: International children and the infrastructures of schools in Finland 
16.25-16.40  Discussion 
16.40-17.00  Henni Alava: Fragmented, non-existent, in-the-making: pediatric pain care infrastructures in Finland Tiina Vaittinen: Infrastructures of in/continence: What if societies were built for those who cannot hold? 
17.00-17.15  Discussion 
17.15-17.45  Final discussion 
19.00 ->  Dinner at restaurant Onni & Leo. Address: Rautatienkatu 14. At participants own expense.  

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