Description

Roads are conceived as essential infrastructures for mobility and development. It is through them that products and people move, that people attend school and vote. But roads are also instruments of social control and legibility, and in many places are seen as synonyms of state presence or fortress. Through them troops are sent, reinforcements arrive, taxes are collected and the territory is integrated. Likewise, roads are a valued public good and are used to win votes, reward politicians and define alliances and coalitions. Starting from the notion of roads as material expressions of development, politics and the state, this research asks about the relationship between these infrastructures and state building in contexts of conflict. Specifically, it examines the practices and logics present in the extensive network of roads built over decades in areas with the presence or control of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). What kind of public and development goods were circulating or are still circulating on these roads, who did they serve, how and why were they built, what kind of actors participated in their construction and maintenance, and did they contribute to increasing the FARC's control over the territories? At a broader level, what kind of political, social and economic orders did they seek to build or transform? And in what ways does this order resemble or differ from those established through state infrastructures? Through an ethnographic investigation of the highways, roads and trails built in two areas of the country with a high FARC presence, this research seeks to contribute to an understanding of the dynamics of construction or dispute of local orders through infrastructure, their heterogeneous character in the territory and the challenges they pose in the post-conflict scenario.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/1/189/30/19