Just Powers Podcast

S3E5 – The Infrastructure of Intimacy

In this episode we read Ara Wilson’s article “The Infrastructure of Intimacy”, published by Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society in Winter 2016.

Bringing together intimacy and infrastructure, this article explores the ways in which infrastructures are involved in social relations and, in many cases, shape the conditions for relational life.

“This essay suggests that critical studies of intimacy are animated by analytical desires for ways to embed social relationships in fields of power that rely on complex, nonreductive understandings of materiality. Infrastructure offers one outlet for these desires. The constructionist attention to infra-structure outlined [in this essay] illustrates the rich material-symbolic assemblages that are contexts (restrooms), conduits (phones), and material conditions for intimate relations. By presenting an introduction to thinking about the infrastructure of intimacy, this essay proposes a research agenda for studying conditioning contexts for social relations in ways that can concretize the operations of such abstract systems of power as neoliberalism, imperialism, or homophobia” (p. 249).

This article is made available with express written permission from the University of Chicago Press.

Original acknowledgement of copyright: Copyright of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture & Society is the property of University of Chicago Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.)

Reference: Wilson, Ara. “The Infrastructure of Intimacy.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 41, no. 2 (Winter 2016): 247-280. https://doi.org/10.1086/682919