Stephen C. Slota & Elliott Hauser: Inverting Ecological Infrastructures: How Temporality Structures the Work of Sustainability. [Abstract]
All conceptions of sustainability presuppose a temporally distributed mode of work, diagnosing past failures to address problems of the future via actions in the present. Sustainability infrastructures necessarily operate along timescales much longer than those that usually inform design and policy work. Since sustainability work demands temporal negotiation, competing visions of sustainability can be distinguished by the ways they relate the past, present, and future to the categories of the human and the natural. Reviewing the history of oyster fishing in the Chesapeake Bay since 1880, we show that infrastructures are sites where sustainability’s temporal dissonance is negotiated, terming this infrastructural articulation work. These activities are simultaneously supported by sustainability infrastructure and hindered by infrastructures’ inherent elusiveness, accretion, and perdurance. We conclude that a deeper understanding of infrastructures and infrastructural articulation work are crucial for the complex negotiation of temporal dissonance that sustainability demands.
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