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Beyond the Big DitchPolitics, Ecology, and Infrastructure at the Panama Canal$
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Ashley Carse

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028110

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028110.001.0001

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A Demanding Environment

A Demanding Environment

Chapter:
13 (p.219) A Demanding Environment
Source:
Beyond the Big Ditch
Author(s):

Ashley Carse

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262028110.003.0013

Thisfinal chapter argues that infrastructures like the Panama Canal have given rise to highly demanding environments. Technological marvels have not universally freed humans from the environment, but bound people more tightly and contentiously to landscapes and waterscapes of our own making. Without constant maintenance, infrastructures crack, rust, and crumble and the political projects, promises, and aspirations they carried dissipate. Places once connected can be disconnected and landscapes that once appeared developed can revert to nature and be redeployed in newprojects. The transformation of the environment through infrastructure construction, maintenance, and decay has uneven consequences—both winners and losers. Thus, depending on who, where, and when you are, global infrastructures may produce experiences of environmental control or vulnerability.

Keywords:   connection and disconnection, demanding environments, engineering, freedom, global infrastructure, maintenance, nature, Panama Canal, political ecology, vulnerability

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