Jutta currently starts a new project that investigates contested infrastructures across the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. This project takes as starting point contemporary transformations in international politics, in particular the rise of new powers, the ever-intensifying commercialization and the evolution of a global security dispositif. It investigates how changing international relations localize and materialize in infrastructural projects that integrate cities in the Horn of Africa with each other and the wider ‘hinterland’.
The research project focusses on port expansions, roads, and ICT networks to investigate how contemporary geo-political and geo-economic competitions are engaging international and local power holders and shape the development of transport and communication infrastructures. A focus is on how international relations impact on the everyday lives of people in terms of access to labour/employment; transport/mobility; and information and finance. We thereby look into the ways people who are operating from different social positions (with respect to gender, age, ethnicity/clan, wealth) negotiate access, operate and make use of the transport and communication infrastructures (in the making).
A blog post (Waiting for Ethiopia: Berbera port upgrade raises Somaliland’s hopes for trade) on one facet of the research project appeared in The Conversation in August 2022. This is about a development at the port of Berbera in Somaliland, a port city that is located on the Gulf of Aden and thus at an important hub of global shipping trade.
Researcher: Jutta Bakonyi