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Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  177 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Extrastatecraft controls everyday life in the city: it’s the key to power – and resistance – in the twenty-first century.

Infrastructure is not only the underground pipes and cables controlling our cities. It also determines the hidden rules that structure the spaces all around us – free trade zones, smart cities, suburbs, and shopping malls. Extrastatecraft charts the eme
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Verso
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Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
This oddity comes from one of the more intriguing thinkers I have read so far in 2016. On the surface, Easterling’s theories about the nature of space in 21st century life is designed for architects who are building the “infrastructural matrixes” around us. Her work, however, is not purely theoretical, as many of these books tend to be; she is a practicing architect herself. Her aim is to show us how space contains scripts that import meaning from all corners of the globe. She takes us to Africa ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Popular (but with a solid set of footnotes with the real scholarship) exploration of the non-state, "soft" infrastructure of free trade zones, standardization policies, availability of broadband, language and management theory. Similar to Seeing Like a State, this is a good conversation starter and reading list.
May 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's fine.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Interesting basic concept - shared standards, networks, and models help define what's possible but are often overlooked - but it doesn't go any further than that.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
“The matrix of repeatable spatial products like malls, resorts, golf courses, and suburbs, as well as the urban formulas for zones and broadband networks, contribute to a global spatial operating system. Altering infrastructure space is often a matter of global concern, exceeding the reach of nations and businesses and requiring the scale and leverage of extrastatecraft…”

Very interesting read. Extrastatecraft is both the creation and feeding of globalized infrastructure, and the subversion of it
Nia Nymue
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was informative and helped me understand the frameworks, complexity and contradictions behind everyday and global-scale phenomena. I would highly recommend this book, especially the chapters on Disposition and Quality. I thought the chapter on Broadband did not add much value to the book. If you do want to read the whole book, you can safely skip the entire chapter without missing much. I would have given this book 5 stars if it weren't for that chapter and also if the first chapter we ...more
Börkur Sigurbjörnsson
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban
In Extrastatecraft, Easterling discusses various interesting topics that are driven by business outside proper state control, such as special economic zones set up for (among others) discounts on worker rights, standards created for the sake of profit rather than sake of standardisation, broadband optimised for the broadband provider rather than the broadband user, etc. However, there was one thing missing for me, a clear and concise point.

Despite having plenty of references, the book read more
Zara Rahman
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not a light read, but this was an excellent book. Easterling takes lots of basic infrastructure that it's all too easy to take for granted, and skilfully deconstructs them to the tiniest detail - clearly, a lot of research went into this book.

In terms of readability, there were definitely parts that I found more interesting than others - chapter 3, for example, on broadband - and chapter 6, which mentions a variety of forms of activism against extrastatecraft, and includes this wonderful descrip
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Easterling outlines the incredible power of cities and organizations that exist outside of any national or sovereign jurisdiction. The book reads as equal parts warning for designers and a survey of international policies that have led to the creation of zones that attract investment by offering freedom from laws and taxes. The book is thoroughly research and avoids spending too much time arguing established writers on this broad topic of economics and international development. The sections on ...more
Nov 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-state
Anecdotal - comments on free zones, broadband in Africa and ISO standards.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
This is an amazing, dense introduction into Easterling’s world of extrastatecraft—her discussion at length of zone policies and their consequences by itself was already mesmerising, and that was just the first chapter. The key idea of the book may be summarized in the following quotation: “In all these examples, there is no desire for a singular, comprehensive, or utopian solution. Power lies rather in the prospect of shaping a series of activities and relationships over time.” This concept of b ...more
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This incredible book condenses history, analysis and prescription in little more than 200 pages of lucid prose. Although I would like to see the last part developed into a full volume.

Being too immersed in the chaos of online media, I am fascinated but still skeptical of the author's prescription for sly activism and propagation of "dissensus". Contrary to the author's, my perception is that the familiar forthright/utopian forms of activism are in need of the most urgent update. They are lackin
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ib2030
A good look at a topic I previously knew very little about, so I'm thankful for the primer. The writing was overly academic at times (here's looking at you,, for having me expect things to sound like they're coming from a helpful human), but incredibly well foot-noted. I loved the chapter on the ISO and the accompanying nonsense of self-determined standards and badges and levels of quality. The typology of utopian designer, activist, hacker/entrepreneur was also a useful frame, discus ...more
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: architecture
Compelling ideas about urban spaces aimed at trying to understand how they shape and are shaped by factors seldom discussed in relation to architecture - broadband, quality control, stories, and extrastatecraft. The book can also be read as a guide to subversive activism in the realm of infrastructure space.

A relevant analogy that the author makes which puts the book's contents in a better perspective is in relation to McLuhan's dictum, "the medium is the message", where infrastructure space is
Lee Barry
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this very much. Here's the author's talk about the book:
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Once again, I seem to have picked a sociological treatise where I expected a more approachable non-fiction book. Still, the book was interesting, if sometimes a little hard to read.
3.75/5. Interesting ideas and anecdotes; mediocre writing.

Easterling connects aspects of global infrastructure and politics in novel ways, but it's hindered by laboured prose that's dragged down by affinity for simile, multi-clause sentences and other unnecessary verbosity. The action she proposes in the last chapter of the book also feels underdeveloped and unsatisfying.

If you're looking for some new food for thought about advocacy, and have the time to wade through sometimes-tedious writing, t
Donia Al-Issa
Read "Introduction" and "Zone" for my Advanced Theories of Communication course.
Sep 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Seb Choe
rated it it was amazing
May 23, 2018
rated it liked it
Nov 16, 2016
Jack Brookes
rated it really liked it
May 14, 2016
rated it really liked it
Mar 04, 2016
rated it did not like it
Nov 21, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2015
Ben Kraal
rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2015
rated it really liked it
Jun 28, 2017
Navid Hamzavi
rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2016
rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2015
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Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Another recent book, Subtraction (Sternberg Press, 2014), considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse. An ebook essay, The Action is the Fo ...more
“As a legal and economic instrument, the zone presides over a cocktail of enticements and legal exemptions that are sometimes mixed together with domestic civil laws, sometimes manipulated by business to create international law, and sometimes adopted by the nation in its entirety. Incentives vary in every location but might include: holidays from income or sales taxes, dedicated utilities like electricity or broadband, deregulation of labor laws, prohibition of labor unions and strikes, deregulation of environmental laws, streamlined customs and access to cheap imported or domestic labor, cheap land and foreign ownership of property, exemption from import/export duties, foreign language services, or relaxed licensing requirements.” 0 likes
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