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The Infrastructured State

Territoriality and the National Infrastructure System

Colin Turner

At the core of the logic of this book is that states engage in infrastructuring as a means of securing and enhancing their territoriality. By positioning infrastructure as a system, there is a presumption that all infrastructures exhibit some degree of mutual dependence. As such, a National Infrastructure System (NIS) is not simply about conventional conceptions of infrastructure based on those that support economic activity (i.e. energy, transport and information) but also about broader hard and soft structures that both enable and are supported by the aforementioned economic infrastructures. Consequently, this book offers an ambitious holistic view on the form of NIS arguing that the infrastructural mandate requires a conception of the state that encapsulates themes from both the competition and the welfare states in infrastructure provision.
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Chapter 8: Conclusions: the infrastructured state

Colin Turner


At the outset, a core objective of this book was understanding why states infrastructure. The book, as reflected within Figure 1.1, intentionally took a wide definition of the core interacting components of the NIS. This reflects the increasingly catholic definitions of infrastructure. However, the focal point of the analysis remained upon economic (i.e. transport, information, water and energy) infrastructures. The frequently less explored components of the NIS (i.e. soft and social infrastructure) were only explored insofar as they enabled and supported these economic infrastructures. This underpins the systemic approaches adopted within the research undertaken. Inevitably the nature of the approach tends to lend itself to a focus upon those states with ‘mature’ and highly developed infrastructure systems. Such a bias does give insights as to what is expected of any given component of the NIS to support and enable the infrastructure mandate. This final chapter brings together the diverse themes addressed within this research to fully understand how infrastructuring is integral to state territorial strategies. Territoriality and infrastructuring are intimately linked. As has been argued elsewhere (Turner and Johnson 2017; Turner 2018), states remain the primary means of developing public infrastructure within the global system of states. Infrastructure is seen as an important means through which the state turns space into territory. These facilities provide the means to reinforce the power of the institutions in which notions of the state are embodied across a demarcated space (Taylor 1994). This link between territoriality and infrastructure underpins the importance of infrastructuring

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