PhD: Infrastructure politics and urban life.

I wrote my PhD thesis, ‘Appropriate infrastructure and urban sociotechnical change in Ahmedabad, Gujarat’ (2022), at the Institute of Development Studies, UK.

This project addressed the relationship between infrastructure and sociotechnical change, presenting an interpretive account of infrastructure politics in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The study made contributions on theoretical, normative, and methodological grounds, proposing an original theoretical framework, mobilising ‘apppropriate infrastructure’ as a criteria for appraisal, and adapting 19th- and early-20th-century writings on flânerie as a method to explore sociotechnical subjects in contemporary postcolonial settings.

In my interpretive account, I focused on three key aspects—mutability, mobility, and worlding—looking at how urban systems adapt and change, how infrastructure models move between different settings, and how differing interpretations of context shape our technologies and urban landscapes. This is especially relevant in Ahmedabad, a city marked by its postcolonial history, where the interactions between infrastructure and its environment are influenced by rigid and flexible material realities, transnational connections, and a fraught politics of identity.

This work has practical implications for policymakers and urban practitioners. It helps us appreciate often-overlooked aspects of city life, offering fresh perspectives on how infrastructure and context interact. This isn’t just academic; it is a crucial step in realising infrastructure projects and creating urban development plans that are fair and inclusive, meeting the needs of specific communities.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, this research was part of a 1+3 studentship with the STEPS Centre, a research group bridging international development and science and technology studies.

You can download a PDF copy of the thesis from my site here (24.8MB), or by visiting the University of Sussex research repository.

Last updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2024