The Principal Investigator of infra-demos, Dimitris Dalakoglou is involved also as the PI (together with Dimitris Pavlopoulos of VU Sociology) in the project PRECARIAT that studies the deregulation of labour market in Europe, focusing empirically in Greece. PRECARIAT just launched its website, whilst its publications are expected soon. PRECARIAT is funded from the Institute of Societal Resilience and the departments of Sociology and Social & Cultural Anthropology of Vrije University Amsterdam (VU).
On Tuesday November 21st infra-demos project went public for the first time in the squatted social centre De Verrekijker in the Vrije University Amsterdam. The research team, comprised by prof. Dimitris Dalakoglou, post-doc Yannis Kalianos and the PhD researcher Christos Giovanopoulos, presented the basic outline and objectives of the project. The analysis was based on the transition from infrastructural Gap to new participatory forms of infrastructures.
Dalakoglou introduced the notions of infrastructural gap and infrastructural citizenship as the two central pillars that will be employed in the research. He also pointed out the techno-social conceptualization of infrastructures, as means for maintaining or challenging social consensus and political order. By analysing the crisis of the dominant infrastructural model in recent years and by focusing on the potential of emerging infrastructures based on social participation, the project aims to bring to light alternative models of infrastructural democracy beyond the state and the market frameworks and to examine also their viability to evolve and upscale. As the primary research field would be in crisis ridden Greece, he also addressed the relevance – and not exclusivity – of the Greek case for the rest of Europe regarding shifting patterns and re-modeling of the dominant infrastructural model and policies.
Kallianos focused on “large” (scale) or “hard” infrastructures as a site of socio-political contestation during times of crisis. He referred to a series of “infrastructural conflicts” occurred in Greece since 2010, which while challenging the dominant political imaginaries opened also a space for social participation and antagonistic models and concepts of infrastructures to emerge.
Giovanopoulos presented the plethora of grassroots social solidarity structures created by popular initiative to respond to a severe crisis of social reproduction in Greece. Such examples have nurtured “soft” infrastructures and a practice of infrastructural consolidation mingled with practices of grassroots democracy. As such they suggest a rather integrated and organic process through which local communities renegotiate (and reclaim) their techno-social relationship with the infrastructural domain. He also briefly referred to his intended engaged and participatory methodology and its relation with the co-design and testing of upgrading and networking of the observed citizen-run infrastructural raw material.
The presentations were followed by a lively discussion regarding the relationship of the crisis as a trigger for such bottom-up social inventiveness, the (vi)ability, or not, of upscaling of such community based examples, the relevance or peculiarity of the Greek case for other economic and socio-political contexts, ro mention but a few. Regarding especially that latter question, two days after our event an artilce in Financial Times appeared confirming the argument of infra-demos about the crisis in the current infrastructural model in the case of entire Europe (Jones 2017).
As infra-demos research team we would like to thank everyone who honored us with their presence, their remarks, questions and contributions in the launch event of infra-demos.
Europe’s spending on infrastructure at ‘chronic’ low level FT, 23 Nov. 2017, Claire Jones in Frankfurt,
infra-demos, the NWO-VIDI project based at the department of Anthropology at Vrije University Amsterdam
is going to be launched in Amsterdam in an event where the core team will present aspects of the project.
A talk and presentation by
PI of infra-demos and Professor of Social Anthropology, VU
infra-demos postdoc researcher in Anthropology, VU
infra-demos doctoral researcher in Anthropology, VU
In De Verrekijker
Vrije University Amsterdam campus
De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam
infra-demos was launched on 1st of September 2017. That same month the Principal Investigator of the project, Dimitris Dalakoglou, have 3 lectures in the context of international events. He was the keynote lecturer for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Anthropological Association of Ireland held at Queen's University of Belfast, where he talked about the future of infrastructures. He was also one of the keynote speakers for the conference Theorising Mobility and Transnationalism held at the University of Iceland in Reykiavik where he talked about European crisis and new regimes of mobility and flows. Furthermore in September he also gave an invited lecture at Heteropolitics conference held in Aristotle University in Thessaloniki.
Moreover, in late October 2017 he was a speaker at the Place-making week organised from the Project for Public Spaces and held in Amsterdam, where he talked about gentrification in Amsterdam and soft infrastructures. In late August 2017, just a few days before the start of the project he was invited speaker at the Summer University of Social Movements, organised by ATTAC France at the University of Toulouse where he participated int he panel tilted: 'What kind of capitalism we are living in?'.
infra-demos was present at the Festival of the Commons 2017 in Athens. With the Omnia sunt Communia (all things are/in common) as moto, last weekend at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, over 65 collectives met in the first Festival of Commons. Albeit first under this name, the festival has been a collaboration of the Commonsfest and of the Festival of Solidarity and Cooperative Economy. Two events that were taking place in the last five years and which joined forces to create the Festival of Commons (FoC). Yet, the FoC has been the result of the newly formed Alliance of Commons and its first big public event.
With over 75 presentations, workshops and panels the festival gathered the majority of those active on the fields of the commons, of the self-managed cooperative movement and of the social and solidarity economy in Greece and also many international participants. Its meetings included, among other, the assemblies of the Network of the Social Solidarity Economy Entities in Attica and of the Panhellenic Network of Cooperative Solidarity Economy Groups, as well as the assembly of the Alliance of Commons the last day. It also hosted panel discussions among the movements resisting privatizations and natural resources grabbing, such as the Chalkidiki SOS against the goldmining in Skouries, the movements against the privatization of the old airport of Athens in Ellinikon and of the park of Plato’s Academy and the movement against the dam in Acheloos river.
The discussions with Michel Bauwens on open cooperative networks, on Friday evening, and with Steven Forti, from Barcelona En Comu, on City – Demos – Commons, on Saturday, attracted the interest of the participants and opened up new perspectives in strategizing for the commons and / through the development of a kind of politics that corresponds to the practices and concept of the Commons.
Moreover, rich cultural activities and workshops took place throughout the three days including a three-day festival of cinematic and visual commons. Besides the political and cultural events, the festival hosted a fair-trade space with 32 productive projects and coops, and a solidarity and barter economy corner.
The festival aimed not only to bring together, celebrate and provide visibility of the active endeavors for the Commons and Social and Solidarity Economy in Greece, but to contribute to the creation and facilitation of productive synergies among the participants, in order to nurtures cross-fertilization and to instigate projects of capacity building. It consists, thus, the first attempt of the Alliance of Commons to introduce a methodology which emphasizes in the production of concrete tools and processes, of the creation of working groups around specific tasks, aiming in the conception, planning, testing and prototyping of sustainable examples and practices, which can enlarge the entire ecosystem of the Commons, self-managed cooperatives and grassroots solidarity economy. The number of proposals and synergies which were presented as mature to kick off in the closing assembly of the Alliance of the Commons, is promising for more to come from the Greek grassroots.
For more you can look at: http://www.commons.gr/
Infra-Demos project was launched in September 2017. Infra-Demos is a five-year long project studying Infrastructural Gap and the wider challenges of the current infrastructural models along the emergence of new forms of infrastructures. The empirical focus is in Greece, nevertheless the findings and the utilisation of the research aims to extent well-beyond the case study.
The Principal Investigator is Dimitris Dalakoglou, who is Professor of Social Anthropology at Vrije University Amsterdam, the postdoc researcher is Yannis Kallianos and the PhD researcher is Christos Giovanopoulos. The project starts with an extensive network of societal partners such as RIPPEX Europe, Komvos of Social, Solidarity and Cooperative Economy, Peer2Peer Lab etc.