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Organising grassroots infrastructure : The (in)visible work of organisational (in)completeness

Zapata Camposs, María José ; Barinaga, Ester LU ; Kain, Jaan-Henrik ; Oloko, Michael and Patrik, Zapata (2022) In Urban Studies
Abstract
In this article we build on the concept of incompleteness, as recently developed in both organisational and urban studies, to improve our understanding of the collective actions of grassroots organisations in creating and governing critical infrastructures in the changing and resource-scarce contexts of urban informal settlements. Empirically, the article is informed by the case of resident associations providing critical services and infrastructure in informal settlements in Kisumu, Kenya. Findings suggest three organisational processes that grassroots organisations develop for the production and governance of incomplete grassroots infrastructures: shaping a partial organisation but creating the illusion of a formal and complete... (More)
In this article we build on the concept of incompleteness, as recently developed in both organisational and urban studies, to improve our understanding of the collective actions of grassroots organisations in creating and governing critical infrastructures in the changing and resource-scarce contexts of urban informal settlements. Empirically, the article is informed by the case of resident associations providing critical services and infrastructure in informal settlements in Kisumu, Kenya. Findings suggest three organisational processes that grassroots organisations develop for the production and governance of incomplete grassroots infrastructures: shaping a partial organisation but creating the illusion of a formal and complete organisation; crafting critical (and often hidden) material and organisational infrastructures for the subsistence of dormant (but still visible) structures; and moulding nested infrastructure that shelters layers of floating and autonomous groups embedded in communities. In a resource-poor environment, the strategy is to create incompleteness, less organisation and to keep it partial and limited to a minimum of elements. The article also explores the political implications of organisational and infrastructural incompleteness by examining how it leads to efforts to craft loose and ambiguous governmental arrangements, connecting them materially and politically to formal infrastructure systems. These governmental arrangements are shifting and in the making, and therefore also incomplete. The article reveals how grassroots organisations mobilise a wide range of (in)visibility approaches. It concludes by exposing the hidden power of ‘incompleteness’ and the potential in hiding certain elements of incompleteness from outsiders, while rendering other elements visible when perceived as useful. (Less)
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; ; ; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
community, development, governance, grassroots organisations, incompleteness, infrastructure, neighbourhood
in
Urban Studies
publisher
Taylor & Francis
ISSN
0042-0980
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cf869306-5595-41ca-a612-27a314540cff
alternative location
https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/I4PQETFIKZQW2N6J8TUS/full
date added to LUP
2022-02-02 12:21:27
date last changed
2022-02-02 14:38:49
@article{cf869306-5595-41ca-a612-27a314540cff,
  abstract     = {{In this article we build on the concept of incompleteness, as recently developed in both organisational and urban studies, to improve our understanding of the collective actions of grassroots organisations in creating and governing critical infrastructures in the changing and resource-scarce contexts of urban informal settlements. Empirically, the article is informed by the case of resident associations providing critical services and infrastructure in informal settlements in Kisumu, Kenya. Findings suggest three organisational processes that grassroots organisations develop for the production and governance of incomplete grassroots infrastructures: shaping a partial organisation but creating the illusion of a formal and complete organisation; crafting critical (and often hidden) material and organisational infrastructures for the subsistence of dormant (but still visible) structures; and moulding nested infrastructure that shelters layers of floating and autonomous groups embedded in communities. In a resource-poor environment, the strategy is to create incompleteness, less organisation and to keep it partial and limited to a minimum of elements. The article also explores the political implications of organisational and infrastructural incompleteness by examining how it leads to efforts to craft loose and ambiguous governmental arrangements, connecting them materially and politically to formal infrastructure systems. These governmental arrangements are shifting and in the making, and therefore also incomplete. The article reveals how grassroots organisations mobilise a wide range of (in)visibility approaches. It concludes by exposing the hidden power of ‘incompleteness’ and the potential in hiding certain elements of incompleteness from outsiders, while rendering other elements visible when perceived as useful.}},
  author       = {{Zapata Camposs, María José and Barinaga, Ester and Kain, Jaan-Henrik and Oloko, Michael and Patrik, Zapata}},
  issn         = {{0042-0980}},
  keywords     = {{community; development; governance; grassroots organisations; incompleteness; infrastructure; neighbourhood}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  month        = {{02}},
  publisher    = {{Taylor & Francis}},
  series       = {{Urban Studies}},
  title        = {{Organising grassroots infrastructure : The (in)visible work of organisational (in)completeness}},
  url          = {{https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/I4PQETFIKZQW2N6J8TUS/full}},
  year         = {{2022}},
}