Infrastructuring as a planetary phenomenon : timescale separation and causal closure in more-than-human systems

Szerszynski, Bronislaw (2022) Infrastructuring as a planetary phenomenon : timescale separation and causal closure in more-than-human systems. Historical Social Research, 47 (4). 193–214.

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Building on recent work identifying how the infrastructures of human social and economic life themselves depend on the “natural infrastructure” of biogeochemical systems, I explore the idea that infrastructuring—involving causal relations between subsystems operating at different timescales—might be a strategy widely adopted by matter undergoing self-organization under planetary conditions. I analyze the concept of infrastructure as it is used to describe features of the human “technosphere” and identify the importance of a difference in timescales between supporting and supported structures and processes. I explore some examples of how the wider planet might be said to engage in timescale-distancing and infrastructuring, focusing, in particular, on examples from the hydrosphere and biosphere. I then turn to the question of how to explain infrastructuring, developing a neocybernetic account of infrastructuring as involving the separation of a system into subsystems at different timescales in mutual but asymmetrical causal relations. I conclude by exploring the implications of this approach for the way we think about planets in general and the human technosphere.

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Journal Article
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Historical Social Research
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?? infrastructureinfrastructuringtimescalesneocyberneticssecond-order cyberneticsclosure to efficient causationautopoiesisplanetary social thoughtno - not fundedsociology and political science ??
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24 Jan 2023 10:35
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 23:24