Just Powers Podcast

S3E6 – Disposition, in Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space

This episode features a reading of Chapter 2 from Keller Easterling’s 2014 book Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space, published by Verso Books.

In this book, Easterling offers an understanding of infrastructure as the hidden substrate — or binding medium — through which standards and ideas are shared between bodies. For Easterling, then, the notion of infrastructure as Extrastatecraft refers to the ways in which contemporary infrastructure spaces are manipulated and controlled in order to exert power and orchestrate activities that can remain unstated but are nevertheless consequential to many.

“Reading disposition in infrastructure space is like Twain’s reading of the water’s surface. The shiny new technology or the persuasive promotional story may command attention just like the pretty landscapes of the river, but in excess of that material, spatial organizations are always providing information about their inherent, if undeclared, activities. While beyond complete comprehension, disposition describes something of what the organization is doing—activities that may diverge from the stated intent. This misalignment with the story or rhetoric is one means of detecting disposition, but additional organizational attributes are also helpful in assessing it.”

This chapter is made available with permission from Verso Books.

Reference: Easterling, Keller. Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. London: Verso, 2014. (Chapter 2: Disposition)