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Image by Jan Huber


The development of material infrastructures has profoundly shaped the nature of modern society, yet it is poorly grasped in social theory. From transport, communications, and energy to water and waste management, to surveillance and data systems, infrastructure literally makes modern society possible. It is crucial to the capacity to sustain large-scale social integration, both in terms of intensity (cities) and extension (national and global relations). Through a collaboration with Hillary Angelo of UCSC, I am exploring how to integrate infrastructure into social theory, and on that basis how better to address major society challenges like climate change.

Infrastructures are bases on which social, economic, and political life rests. Some of the most important include transportation, communications, energy, water, and waste. Cities could not exist without them, not the large-scale and of abstractly systemic webs of indirect social relations. But even directly interpersonal relations depend on infrastructures: sidewalks and front porches, places to meet, ways to stay in touch with those who move.

Work in Progress

 “Missing infrastructure”: an account of the relative absence of infrastructure from sociological theory and its implications. 

“Underneath the social”: an examination of the ways in which material and socio-technical infrastructure shapes social life (with Hillary Angelo). 

Previous Publications (selected)


1995 - Critical Social Theory: Culture, History and the Challenge of Difference

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