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Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space

“An extraordinary guidebook to the politics of infrastructure in the contemporary world.” —Stephen Graham, author of Cities Under Siege
Extrastatecraft is the operating system of the modern world: the skyline of Dubai, the subterranean pipes and cables sustaining urban life, free-trade zones, the standardized dimensions of credit cards, and hyper-consumerist shopping malls. It is all this and more. Infrastructure sets the invisible rules that govern the spaces of our everyday lives, making the city the key site of power and resistance in the twenty-first century.

Keller Easterling reveals the nexus of emerging governmental and corporate forces buried within the concrete and fiber-optics of our modern habitat. Extrastatecraft will change how we think about cities—and, perhaps, how we live in them.

Reviews

  • Extrastatecraft is an essential text for anyone with a stake in the built environment, architect and citizen alike, in articulating the forces that shape our nation-states, and cataloguing—in a precise and readable style—the strategies of an otherwise unaccountable global order.”
  • “I have long admired Keller Easterling’s talent for extracting a space, a shape, a marking, from mixes of elements rarely brought together—whether materially or conceptually. In Extrastatecraft she does it at a grand scale, cutting across fields of meaning and of practice. A must read.”
  • “An extraordinary guidebook to the politics of infrastructure in the contemporary world, Extrastatecraft is a pivotal and beautifully written excavation of the hidden geographies of globalisation. ‘Free’ trade zones, optic fibre networks, credit cards, mobile phones, economic and financial rules … all emerge as charged elements within an often invisible geography that could not be more important. Extrastatecraft works to politicise and expose the prosaic and taken-for-granted hardware of our world.”
  • “This book is a breathtaking journey along the material and immaterial infrastructures that continuously shape contemporary global space. Information flows of financial, legal or military nature congeal into wide arrays of strange ‘spatial products,’ extraterritorial ‘zones’ and building nodes. From within the logic of these pervasive systems, Easterling poses the most urgent political challenge facing spatial activists today, and shows how the search for justice must retool to outsmart the immanent violence of Extrastatescraft.”
  • Extrastatecraft establishes Keller Easterling’s growing reputation as the savviest student of postnational spatial and infrastructural forms. Bringing together architecture, coding, digitalization and logistics, she exposes the nervous system of the new logics of domination through information and proposes a cunning counter-politics of humor, discommunication and disguise. A must read for all varieties of critical students of space and sovereignty in this emerging century.”
  • “This is a remarkable work. Keller Easterling has written one of the most original works about the American environment I’ve ever read.”
  • “A provocative study of infrastructure, the operating system governing everyday life.”

Blog

  • [Video:] David Harvey and Evgeny Morozov on Trump, neoliberalism, infrastructure, and "the sharing economy"



    On November 14, 2016 — as part of the Barcelona Initiative for Technological Sovereignty (BITS) — David Harvey sat down with Evgeny Morozov to discuss Trump's election and what it means for neoliberalism and infrastructure; as well as technologies of value extraction in contemporary cities.

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  • Infrastructures of Empire and Resistance


    Demolition of "The Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, October 2016. 

    In late October 2016, I packed my bags for a short trip abroad, leaving a region raw with struggle over the racial and colonial violence of infrastructure. In places like Standing Rock, Flint, Muskrat Falls, Toronto, and Baltimore, conflicts raged over the targeted violence of energy, water, border, and policing systems. Movements for Black lives, for migrants’ rights, for indigenous sovereignty, and for economic and environmental justice were increasingly mapping violent infrastructure systems with their direct actions and analyses. The water protectors’ camps at Standing Rock were large and growing, animated by spirit, ceremony, and unprecedented gathering as they halted the Dakota Access Pipeline. The largest prison strike in history, 45 years after the Attica uprising, was calling out the inhumanity of American carceral infrastructure. Black organizers were denouncing infrastructure crises like the one poisoning Flint, Michigan, suggesting these would be the defining struggles for Black communities to come. More than 50 Indigenous Nations from across Turtle Island had just signed the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion, with the goal of protecting Indigenous lands and waters from all proposed pipeline, tanker, and rail projects. In my hometown of Toronto, Black Lives Matter members were making claims for the protection of “Black Infrastructure.” Blockades of damns, ports, highways, and rail infrastructure had become frequent news virtually everywhere, except for in the reporting of the mainstream media.

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  • The Year in Review: Verso authors reflect on 2016

    From the explosion in border walls to the rise of Donald Trump to the books that they've read along the way, Verso authors reflect on one of the most shocking years in recent history in this 2016 review.

    With contributions from: Franco Bifo Berardi, Christine Delphy, Keller Easterling, Nick Estes, Liz Fekete, Amber A'Lee Frost, Andrea Gibbons, Owen Hatherley, Eric Hazan, Helen Hester, Karen L. Ishizuka, Reece Jones, Costas Lapavitsas, Andreas Malm, Geoff Mann, Jane McAlevey, Ed Morales, David Roediger Nick Srnicek and Wolfgang Streeck.


    Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi
    , author of Heroes

    Ninety-nine years after the Soviet Revolution the stage is set for precipitation into global civil war. While the financial class exacerbates its agenda fuelling  unemployment and social devastation, the dynamics that led to Nazism are deploying worldwide. Nationalists are repeating what Hitler said to the impoverished workers of Germany: rather than as defeated workers, think of yourself as white warriors so you’ll win. They did not win, but they destroyed Europe. They will not win this time neither, but they are poised to destroy the world.

    After two centuries of colonial violence, we are now facing the final showdown. As worker’s internationalism has been destroyed by capital globalisation, a planetary bloodbath is getting almost unavoidable. 

    After centuries of colonial domination and violence, the dominators of the world are now facing a final showdown: the dispossessed of the world are reclaiming a moral and economic reward that the West is unwilling and unable to pay. The concrete historical debt towards those people that we have exploited cannot be paid because we are forced to pay the abstract financial debt.

    The collapse of capitalism is going to be interminable and enormously destructive, as long as a conscious subjectivity does not emerge.


    Christine Delphy, author of Separate and Dominate 

    The year now coming to an end has abounded with bad news on the political front. After a foul and very long debate on how we could ‘strip’ French citizens of their nationality – ultimately reaching the conclusion that this was impossible with regard to both French laws and international conventions – the government abandoned the bill. Immediately after that, a fresh bill was presented to ‘reform’ the labour code, largely getting rid of the majority of the guarantees enjoyed by workers. There was a mass mobilisation against this plan, lasting across the whole spring and part of summer. It opposed demonstrators in all France’s towns and cities to a police which, as the prime minister Manuel Valls put it, ‘had not been given any orders to show restraint’.

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