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Publications (10 of 25) Show all publications
Ernstson, H. & Nilsson, D. (2019). Histories of Heterogenous Infrastructures: Negotiating Colonial, Postcolonial and Oral Archives in Kampala, Uganda. In: : . Paper presented at Royal Geographic Society, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019, 28-30 August..
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Histories of Heterogenous Infrastructures: Negotiating Colonial, Postcolonial and Oral Archives in Kampala, Uganda
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Critical infrastructure studies are growing in importance to understand how sociocultural, ecological, and ecological relations are inscribed, negotiated, and contested in urban spaces. A major effort has been to ground such work in experiences of the global South, moving beyond the “modern infrastructure ideal” a fully networked city, towards conceptualizations of incremental, peopled, and heterogenous infrastructure. However, there are still few historical studies that depart from these new conceptualizations. In this paper we draw upon our empirical work in Kampala, Uganda, in an attempt to historicize “heterogenous infrastructure configurations” (Lawhon et al. 2017) through combining (and constructing) three distinct historical archives: (i) the colonial archives (based on traditional archival work in Kew National Archives in London); (ii) the official postcolonial archives (which meant to crisscross through Kampala to assemble documents, reports, photos and legal notes); and (iii) oral histories (where we interviewed elderly women and men with a long family history in the city). This work has led to several pertinent questions about “what to make of the colonial archives when they systematically exclude or distort the wider heterogenous infrastructure reality that surely existed in parallel to the ‘European’ city?” “why are postcolonial archives so difficult to find and assemble?” and “how to draw upon the richness and texture of oral histories from particular places, families and persons.” This paper then, reflects on how we have grappled with working across these archives with the aim to contribute more general ideas of how to situate and historicize the study of contemporary infrastructures in a postcolonial world (in communication with postcolonial historians as in Mamdani, Chakrabarty, Lalu, and Benson). By pushing different narratives to confront and clash, and by critically looking at our own practice, new histories arise. But also new questions; some which should have been asked long ago. We argue here for an approach of heterodoxa; one that opens for different meanings, archives and locations from where to construct histories and futures about infrastructure and urban spaces.

Keywords
urban studies, history, infrastructure, postcolonial studies, Southern urbanism
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-258833 (URN)
Conference
Royal Geographic Society, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019, 28-30 August.
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-03543
Note

QC 20191106

Available from: 2019-09-11 Created: 2019-09-11 Last updated: 2019-11-06Bibliographically approved
Avango, D., Högselius, P. & Nilsson, D. (2018). Swedish Explorers, In-Situ Knowledge, and Resource-Based Business in the Age of Empire. Scandinavian Journal of History, 43, 324-347
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish Explorers, In-Situ Knowledge, and Resource-Based Business in the Age of Empire
2018 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of History, ISSN 0346-8755, E-ISSN 1502-7716, Vol. 43, p. 324-347Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The period from 1870 to 1914 plays a unique role in the history of natural resource exploration and extraction. This article analyses, from a Swedish viewpoint, the connections between two actor categories of special importance in this context: scientific-geographical explorers and industrial actors. The article examines their activities in three broadly defined regions: the Arctic, Russia, and Africa. We show that the Swedes generally had far-reaching ambitions, on par with those of the large imperial powers. In some cases, notably in Africa, Sweden was not able to compete with the larger imperial powers; but in other cases, such as the exploration of the Arctic – from Spitsbergen to Siberia – and the industrial exploitation of coal at Spitsbergen and petroleum in Russia’s colonial periphery, Swedish actors played a leading role, in competition with players from the larger European nations. Our paper shows that scientific exploration and industry were closely linked, and that foreign policy also influenced the shaping of these links. We distinguish different types of knowledge produced by the Swedish actors, pointing to local, situated knowledge as the most important type for many resource-based businesses, although modern, scientific knowledge was on the increase during this period.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Sweden, natural resources, in-situ knowledge, field sciences, industry, colonialism
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-215503 (URN)10.1080/03468755.2017.1380923 (DOI)000433995700002 ()2-s2.0-85030853002 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Sweden and the origins of natural resource colonialism
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2012-33144-92725-40
Note

QC 20171019

Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2018-12-05Bibliographically approved
Lawhon, M., Nilsson, D., Silver, J., Ernstson, H. & Lwasa, S. (2018). Thinking through Heterogeneous Infrastructure Configurations. Urban Studies, 55(4), 720-732
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Thinking through Heterogeneous Infrastructure Configurations
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2018 (English)In: Urban Studies, ISSN 0042-0980, E-ISSN 1360-063X, Vol. 55, no 4, p. 720-732Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Studies of infrastructure have demonstrated broad differences between Northern and Southern cities, and deconstructed urban theory derived from experiences of the networked urban regions of the global North. This includes critiques of the universalization of the historically-culturally produced normative ideal of universal, uniform infrastructure. We introduce the notion of “heterogeneous infrastructure configurations” (HICs) as a way to analyze urban infrastructure that builds on postcolonial critiques of knowledge, as well as ethnographies of everyday Southern urbanisms. We argue that the notion of HIC helps us to move beyond technological and performative accounts of actually existing infrastructures to provide an analytical lens through which to compare different configurations. Our approach enables a clearer analysis of infrastructural artifacts not as individual objects but as parts of geographically spread socio-technological configurations: configurations which might involve many different kinds technologies, relations, capacities and operations, entailing different risks and power relationships. We use examples from ongoing research on sanitation and waste in Kampala, Uganda- a city in which service delivery is characterized by multiplicity, overlap, disruption and inequality- to demonstrate the kinds of research questions that emerge when thinking through the notion of HICs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018
Keywords
infrastructure; provincialising theory; Southern theory; urban political ecology; urban theory, 关键词基础设施, 地方化理论, 南半球理论, 城市政治生态学, 城市理论
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment; History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-216408 (URN)10.1177/0042098017720149 (DOI)000425065500003 ()2-s2.0-8504216514 (Scopus ID)
Projects
Heterogenous Infrastructure Configurations in Uganda Project HICCUP
Note

QC 20171102

Available from: 2017-10-20 Created: 2017-10-20 Last updated: 2019-09-11Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, D. & Sörlin, S. (2017). Research Aid Revisited: A historically grounded analysis of future prospects and policy options. Stockholm: Expertgruppen för Biståndsanalys
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Research Aid Revisited: A historically grounded analysis of future prospects and policy options
2017 (English)Report (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Expertgruppen för Biståndsanalys, 2017. p. 133
Keywords
aid, research, collaboration, developing countries, development, Sweden
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-217240 (URN)978-91-88143-29-7 (ISBN)
Note

Finansierat av Expertgruppen för Biståndsanalys, under Regeringskansliet

QC 20171213

Available from: 2017-11-03 Created: 2017-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, D. (2016). Built Environment as Performing Politics: Historicizing urban inequality in the global South. In: : . Paper presented at (Re)Imagining Future(s): Ecology, Emancipation and the Built Environment, 22-23 September, 2016, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Built Environment as Performing Politics: Historicizing urban inequality in the global South
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores how city-builders in East Africa have imagined and re-imagined futures of their built environments, in colonial and post-colonial settings, with focus on Nairobi in Kenya. In the colonial period, cities were imagined and co-constructed with narratives that centred around modernity and health, creating a (racialised) social order which was reflected in infrastructures and the built environment. After independence in the 1960s the new African states re-imagined the cities as places of African nationalism and pride, but which was nested onto the colonialist tradition of modernity and central control. The inequality which was already coded into the built environment thus has persisted, and state actors have remained "unseeing" with respect to the need for socio-technical innovation within the black boxes of technology that make up vital parts of the built environment. In re-imagining futures of cities in Africa - and other parts of global South - there is a need to unpack the monolithic and centralistic views of the modernist state, and make way for heterogeneous and pluralistic perspectives on the built environments.     

National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-193101 (URN)
Conference
(Re)Imagining Future(s): Ecology, Emancipation and the Built Environment, 22-23 September, 2016, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh, India
Note

QC 20160930

Available from: 2016-09-28 Created: 2016-09-28 Last updated: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, D. & Sörlin, S. (2016). Research Aid Revisited: Understanding Swedish research aid in the current state of world development through a historically grounded analysis. In: : . Paper presented at Conference: Global Visions and Local Practices: Development Research in a Post-2015 World, 22 August 2016, 24 August 2016, Venue: Stockholm University, Sweden.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Research Aid Revisited: Understanding Swedish research aid in the current state of world development through a historically grounded analysis
2016 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper, which builds on an ongoing study for the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA), we take a fresh look at Swedish development research on a longer time scale. Swedish development research has, by and large, followed the same model since the 1970s. With a focus on building research capacity in the South, this model reflected the larger narrative of how Sweden promoted emancipation of poor countries. Historical records however show that SAREC was formed as an independent agency to bypass aid priorities set by recipient governments. The Swedish government also ignored international calls for re-directing national research priorities towards developing countries by confining development research into one of many sub-themes of aid. The SAREC model was largely shaped by the then prevailing ideologies and by the Cold War political landscape, a landscape gone since decades. Today humanity faces challenges – climate, biodioversity, migration etc - that require cooperation between rich and poorer countries at an entirely different scale. In this emerging global landscape of shared problems, Swedish development research risks becoming an atavism. We argue that Sweden’s development research needs re-thinking against the entire research agenda, against an updated understanding of geopolitical changes and the emerging global challenges, and against our historical experience.

National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-193099 (URN)
Conference
Conference: Global Visions and Local Practices: Development Research in a Post-2015 World, 22 August 2016, 24 August 2016, Venue: Stockholm University, Sweden
Note

QC 20160930

Available from: 2016-09-28 Created: 2016-09-28 Last updated: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, D. (2015). Closure and Innovation in urban technologies in the age of Development Aid. In: : . Paper presented at 7th Tensions of Europe Conference: Technology and Environment, 3-6 September 2015, Stockholm, Sweden.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Closure and Innovation in urban technologies in the age of Development Aid
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Urban networked technologies of water supply and sanitation have been transferred from the global North to produce “development” in the South first through colonial structures, and later through the machinery of development aid. While some “development” has been produced by means of such imported systems and practices, they have also entrenched social injustice in African cities. The African urban environment and its technosphere cannot be seen outside its system of values and power hierarchies, meaning that the innovation and change dynamics of urban technology is heavily influenced by the political economy context particularly of the urban elites. While European water technologies came to represent modernisation and progress in colonial contexts it appears as they continued to serve a similar symbolic purpose also after de-colonisation. By discussing the trajectories of these technologies in the South through the use of the “closure” concept, I argue that the symbolic purpose of infrastructure may have been more crucial for African political leaders and system builders than previously understood. Problems and controversies that have been identified by key actors are predominantly of fiduciary nature, while influential external actors like donors have had small incentives for technological change. In terms of technological development the water and sanitation large-scale systems have continued to be in a state of closure and any major innovation activity within them is likely to require a shift in power and accountability structures.

Keywords
innovation, technical and social change, technology transfer, modernity, Africa, water, urban
National Category
History of Technology Water Engineering
Research subject
Land and Water Resources Engineering; History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-174022 (URN)
Conference
7th Tensions of Europe Conference: Technology and Environment, 3-6 September 2015, Stockholm, Sweden
Note

QC 20150928

Available from: 2015-09-24 Created: 2015-09-24 Last updated: 2015-09-28Bibliographically approved
Drakenberg, O. & Nilsson, D. (2015). Droits de l’Homme à l’Eau et à l’Assainissement au Burkina Faso: Evaluation des droits humains et utilisation d’approches basées sur les droits humains dans la théorie et la pratique. Göteborg: GMV Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Droits de l’Homme à l’Eau et à l’Assainissement au Burkina Faso: Evaluation des droits humains et utilisation d’approches basées sur les droits humains dans la théorie et la pratique
2015 (French)Report (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Burkina Faso : Assessing human rights and use of human rights based approaches in theory and practice
Abstract [fr]

D’énormes progrès ont été constatés au Burkina Faso depuis les années 1990 en termes d’accès à l’eau potable. Quelques progrès- mais moindres- peuvent être également observés dans l’accès à un assainissement adéquat. Lorsque l’on utilise les définitions du PCS de l’OMS/UNICEF en matière de couverture d’un meilleur approvisionnement en eau, alors le Burkina Faso atteint déjà les objectifs des OMD en matière d’eau. L’accès à l’assainissement est encore très faible ; entre 11% et 20% selon que l’on utilise les définitions nationales ou celles du PCS. Il y a donc, une réalisation progressive des droits à l’eau et à l’assainissement, bien que les progrès en matière d’assainissement soient non satisfaisants.Les engagements de l’Etat en matière d’eau et d’assainissement sont clairement indiqués au Burkina Faso par le biais des conventions internationales et des législations nationales. Les quatre principes de redevabilité, de transparence, de participation et de non- discrimination des droits humains sont à des degrés divers intégrés dans les institutions formelles, l’organisation et les opérations du secteur. Toutefois, subsistent d’énormes lacunes quant à la manière dont ils sont mis en pratique. La redevabilité est un problème majeur, particulièrement aux niveaux régional et national. Les mécanismes de participation existent au niveau local, mais la participation des femmes et des autres groupes marginalisés demeure faible en bien des endroits et des décisions clés sont prises à d’autres niveaux, mettant en péril la signification de la participation aux endroits où elle se passe. Bien que la plupart des informations soit ouvertes au public, cela ne signifie pas qu’elles soient facilement accessibles. Les mécanismes de non-discrimination, par exemple dans la budgétisation, peuvent être renforcés en utilisant les données déjà existantes en matière d’inégalité.Le Burkina Faso a, dans plusieurs aspects, respecté et dépassé les critères normatifs internationaux (normes minimales) des droits humains aux services d’eau et d’assainissement. Alors que des critères normatifs plus ambitieux sont louables à long terme, ils sont également plus coûteux et par conséquent, le taux de réalisation sera plus lent. Une norme inférieure et plus flexible pourrait accélérer la réalisation des droits particulièrement liés à l’assainissement.Dans l’ensemble, d’importantes opportunités existent pour la réalisation du droit à l’eau et à l’assainissement et pour l’utilisation d’approches basées sur les droits humains dans le secteur de l’eau et de l’assainissement au Burkina Faso.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: GMV Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum, 2015. p. 53
Keywords
water, sanitation, human rights, Burkina Faso, droits de l'homme, eau, assainissement, Burkina Faso
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-169884 (URN)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Note

Sida Helpdesk for Environment and Climate Change. QC 20150624

Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-06-24 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved
Drakenberg, O. & Nilsson, D. (2015). Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Burkina Faso: Assessing human rights and use of human rights based approaches in theory and practice. Gothenburg: GMV Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human Rights to Water and Sanitation in Burkina Faso: Assessing human rights and use of human rights based approaches in theory and practice
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Great progress has been noted in Burkina Faso since the 1990s in terms of access to safe drinking water. Some – but much smaller – progress can also be seen in access to adequate sanitation. When using the WHO/UNICEF JMP definitions of coverage of improved water supply, then Burkina Faso has already met the MDG targets on water. The access to sanitation is still very low; between 11% and 20% depending on whether one uses the national definitions or the JMP definitions. There is thus progressive realisation of the rights to water and sanitation although progress on sanitation is non-satisfactory.

The obligations of the State for water and sanitation are clearly stated in Burkina Faso through international conventions and national legislation. The four human rights principles of accountability, transparency, participation and non-discrimination are to a varying extent integrated in the formal institutions, organisation and operations of the sector. However, there are serious weaknesses in how they are practically implemented. Accountability is a key problem, especially at regional and national level. Participatory mechanisms exist at local level but participation of women and other marginalised groups remain weak in many places and key decisions are made at other levels, jeopardizing the meaningfulness of participation where it occurs. While most information is open to the public it does not mean it is easily accessible. Mechanisms for non-discrimination e.g. in budgeting can be strengthened using already existing data on inequity.

Burkina Faso has in several aspects met and overshot international normative criteria (minimum standards) of human rights to WSS. While more ambitious normative criteria are commendable in the long run, it is also more costly and thus the rate of realisation will be slower. A lower and more flexible norm could speed up the realisation of rights especially related to sanitation. On the whole, significant opportunities exist for realising the right to water and sanitation and the use of human rights based approaches in the water and sanitation sector in Burkina Faso. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: GMV Göteborgs Miljövetenskapliga Centrum, 2015. p. 58
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-166558 (URN)
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Note

Sida Helpdesk for Environment and Climate Change

QC 20150624

Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-05-11 Last updated: 2015-06-25Bibliographically approved
Nilsson, D. (2015). Vems är den hjälpande handen?: Om infrasystem och förtroende. In: Thomas Kaiserfeld, Nina Wormbs (Ed.), Med varm hand: Texter tillägnade Arne Kaijser (pp. 87-104). Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Vems är den hjälpande handen?: Om infrasystem och förtroende
2015 (Swedish)In: Med varm hand: Texter tillägnade Arne Kaijser / [ed] Thomas Kaiserfeld, Nina Wormbs, Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015, p. 87-104Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Hur stora tekniska system griper in i samhällets utveckling är något som teknikhistoriker ägnat stor uppmärksamhet. Städernas nätverk för gas och vatten, nationella och transnationella infrasystem för transporter, eller globala luftföroreningar; vi talar här om tekniska system som gemensamma nyttigheter. Till stor del kan dessa systems utveckling också förstås utifrån de institutionella spelregler som samhället upprättar. På det institutionella planet återkopplar samhället sin idé om vad som är rätt och vad som är möjligt till det tekniska. Men var kommer dessa institutioner ifrån? Hur skapar vi tillsammans gemensamma nyttigheter och varför är det så svårt? I den här essän tar jag upp tankar och idéer om hur vi skapar gemensamma nyttigheter när vi står inför en kollektiv utmaning. Essän diskuterar problematiken i dagens utvecklingsländer där det i dag pågår innovationsverksamhet för att hitta lösningar på kollektiva problem och återknyter till de resonemang Arne Kaijser och jag förde i ett paper publicerat 2009. Här utvecklas sedan resonemangen om institutioner och förtroende som socialt kapital utifrån Elinor Ostroms och Niklas Luhmanns arbeten. För att kunna investera i ett infrasystem för gemensamma nyttigheter räcker det inte med kunskap och fysiskt kapital eftersom tillgången till information och kontrollen över tänkbara utfall alltid kommer vara ojämnt fördelad. Därför är det också nödvändigt att över tid bygga upp förtroende mellan aktörerna, oavsett om det rör sig om vattenförsörjning i ett slumområde eller globala utsläpp av växthusgaser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015
Series
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 270
National Category
History of Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-160924 (URN)
Note

QC 20150407

Available from: 2015-03-04 Created: 2015-03-04 Last updated: 2015-04-07Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-0611-7512

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