About the project
Contemporary transregional energy infrastructure projects aim to increase global connectivity and envisage seemingly borderless flows of energy, from wind and solar energy plants to power grids and transmission cables. But beyond connection, they generate deeply conflictive situations. To overcome simple explanations for tensions around infrastructures, we need to gain a better understanding of the meaning and effect of transregional infrastructures for potential democratic governance in the different locales they connect.
This project seeks a deeper understanding of the relationship between transregional infrastructure and the political agency of different actors in its planning, governance, and implementation, and asks:
In which ways do transregional infrastructure projects transform local, national and transnational political agency?
What is their effect on democratic and/or authoritarian practices of governance?
SIEPAC, in operation since 2014, is the electricity component of the Mesoamerican Project, a giant infrastructure plan between Mexico, Central America and Colombia. Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and others, it has a capacity of 300 MW. Around SIEPAC, energy generation projects (dams, wind farms, mines) have multiplied, but are highly contested and frequently conflictive.
Dr. Alke Jenss
PI for this project and Senior Researcher / Head of Contested Governance Cluster at Arnold-Bergstraesser Institute. Focus:
- tensions around large-scale dams, defense of land
- links between infrastructure studies, political economy, authoritarian neoliberalism literatures
- Southern Mexico-Guatemala border region, Costa Rica, SIEPAC
Dr. Alessandra Bonci
Alessandra is a post-doc researching energy infrastructures and governance focusing on Tunisia in this project:
- authoritarianism and conservative religious movements
- political Islam
- gender studies, social movements and resistance
- energy infrastructures between Europe and North Africa (solar plants), North Africa, Tunisia
Dr. Benjamin Schütze
Benjamin Schuetze is an associated researcher with the project and leads a German Research Foundation (DFG) project on Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms? The Political Economy of Solar Energy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).