Infrastructural Discipline

Posted by: on Jan 9, 2014 | No Comments

798px-George_Washington_Bridge,_HAER_NY-129-8

While the “Bridgegate” story contains multitudes, I do find the infrastructural angle pretty fascinating. While political bullying is nothing new, using and manipulating access infrastructure to cause discomfort, inconvenience, pain, and, if paramedics are correct, the death of at least one woman seems an especially nefarious piece of spatial aggression. Just as the revelations about the NSA have transformed the virtual space we use to communicate into a self-disciplining panopticon, this scandal certainly highlights the possibilities for a more direct kind of infrastructural discipline. While automobility has long been the avatar of American freedom, it also represents a kind of complete submission to centralized control, whether from the state agencies or private operators that provide the connective tissue necessary for it.