New open access article "From problematisation to propositionality"

30th April, 2022

Congratualtions to our UK CESET Dr Idalina Baptista and her colleague on a new publication in the Transactions of the British Institute of Britsh Geographers. "From problematisation to propositionality: Advancing southern urban infrastructure debates"  explores the notion of propositionality to advance southern urban infrastructure debates towards more anticipatory forms of scholarship. By propositionality, they mean a research sensibility that engages, first and foremost, with propositions for infrastructure futures on their own terms. While scholarship on infrastructures in southern cities has contributed to very fruitful conceptual and methodological innovations, they argue that the current mode of problematisation does not lend itself to this propositional intent.

Conceptually focused on deconstruction and critique and methodologically tied to heterogeneity at the community scale, the authros argues that this form of problematisation tends to produce localised knowledge about what is, but offers limited avenues for articulating what could be. After a brief introduction, the article provides a review of the main conceptual and methodological contributions and limitations of the dominant modes of researching southern urban infrastructure. They then explore a different mode of problematisation as the first step towards a propositional research sensibility, followed by an overview of a preliminary propositional skill set covering three aspects: mobilising technical knowledge more effectively; appreciating sectoral and scalar specificity; and addressing the challenges of normativity. Their arguments draw on literature from southern scholarship, science and technology studies, and pragmatism, as well as empirical work conducted by ourselves and others. They conclude the article with a call for further reflection among southern urban scholars on ways to move us into a propositional space that better engages with the people and things we speak for and care about.

See the link below to download the open access article.