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Infrastructure turned suprastructure: unpredictable materialities and visions of a Nigerian nation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Urban Dynamics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1855-965x
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology. Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Urban Dynamics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4387-7075
2015 (English)In: Journal of material culture, ISSN 1359-1835, E-ISSN 1460-3586, Vol. 20, no 1, p. 43-57Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There are signs hidden in the infrastructure. In the Nigerian city of Jos, the unpredictable availability of power, fuel, water, etc. becomes a vehicle of meaning. In many settings across the globe, infrastructure is often made invisible, and the centre stage that it takes in everyday life remains unrecognized. In Jos, however, as in many African cities, the constant need to predict its flows contradicts the prefix infra (below); rather than being hidden beneath the realm of experience it is brought to the surface as a puzzle to be figured out. These explorations in turn come to reveal matters beyond the infrastructure itself. Just as diviners infer the state of the world from the stones they have thrown, reading significance out of the seeming randomness of matter, the infrastructure turns intricate questions into tangible clues. It becomes a suprastructure - a divination tool giving clues about the past, present and future of the Nigerian nation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 20, no 1, p. 43-57
Keywords [en]
African urbanity, anthropology, infrastructure, materiality, Nigeria, Jos, urban environment
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Cultural Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-351003DOI: 10.1177/1359183514560284OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-351003DiVA, id: diva2:1206633
Available from: 2018-05-17 Created: 2018-05-17 Last updated: 2018-05-18

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Trovalla, UlrikaTrovalla, Erik

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