Social Infrastructure and Left Behind Places

This lecture discusses ‘Social Infrastructure and Left Behind Places’ by authors John Tomaney, Maeve Blackman, Lucy Natarajan, Dimitrios Panayotopoulos-Tsiros, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite and Myfanwy Taylor. The book explores the making, unmaking and remaking of social infrastructure in ‘left-behind places’. Such places, typically once flourishing industrial communities that have been excluded from recent economic growth, now attract academic and policy attention as sites of a political backlash against globalisation and liberal democracy.

The book focuses on the role of social infrastructure as a key component of this story. Seeking to move beyond a narrowly economistic way of reading ‘left behind places’, the book addresses the understudied affective dimensions of ‘left-behindness’. It develops an analytical framework that emphasises the importance of place attachments and the consequences of their disruption; considers ‘left behind places’ as ‘moral communities’ and the making of social infrastructure as an expression of this; views the unmaking of social infrastructure through the lens of ‘root shock’; and explains efforts at remaking it in terms of the articulation of ‘radical hope’. The analysis builds upon a case study of a former mining community in County Durham, North East England.