Dirt-roads, highways, and checkpoints in the North Caucasus
(University of Warsaw)
Paper short abstract:
Taking a dirt-road renovation in Daghestan (North Caucasus) as an example I will show how new social collectivities emerge from humans' (dis)entanglements with checkpoint and dirt-road infrastructures.
Paper long abstract:
The Republic of Daghestan, situated in the Russia's South experienced political and religious turmoil in the recent years. As a result, many people clang to their communities and tried to stay "beyond" the state. They introduced their own laws and renovated their own roads.
In my paper I take a closer look at "checkpoint infrastructure" (highways that connect checkpoints, and other strategic objects) and "dirt-road infrastructure" (unsustained roads beyond checkpoint infrastructure).
Taking a dirt-road renovation in Shiri village as an example I will show how new social collectivities emerge from humans' (dis)entanglements with checkpoint infrastructure and dirt-road infrastructure. I argue that in places permeated by state violence dirt-roads and checkpoint infrastructures are good to think with because we can learn more about state's presence (absence) in a given setting as well as unravel the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion through infrastructure. In a longer run, we can also observe social changes in the North Caucasus and learn more about affective resonances of state power in the Russia's peripheries.
The paper is based on my ethnographic fieldwork between 2007 and 2017 in Daghestan.
From paths to roads: the transformative capacities of roads on movement and relationships