The infrastructures of internal colonialism: State, environment and race in Lerma, Mexico

Alejandro De Coss-Corzo

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This article explores the relation between infrastructures, labour and internal colonialism in Lerma, Mexico. Drawing on archival and ethnographic research of two hydraulic projects there, the article argues that infrastructures are productive of the racial, environmental, and political relations that constitute coloniality both historically and contemporarily. I show how these infrastructural projects imagined and produced colonial relations between the environment, racialised workers, and the nation-state, and how these colonial logics endure today through infrastructures and the forms of racialised labour that maintain them. In doing so, this article contributes to literature that interrogates the relations between infrastructure and coloniality by focusing on how infrastructural labour makes internal colonial relations enduring. The article concludes by reflecting on how the labour practices that make internal colonialism enduring also point to ways of producing infrastructures otherwise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-829
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Early online date10 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I want to thank the panellists and participants in the 2019 RGS session “Natural Slaves: Labour, Race, and Infrastructure” and the 2022 SLAS session “Infrastructure and Coloniality in Latin America: Historical Geographies of Infrastructure, Historical Geographies of Theory”, where previous versions of this paper were presented, for their engagement with its arguments. In particular, I am grateful to the co-organisers of these two sessions, Austin Zeiderman and Archie Davies, for creating spaces to think infrastructures and their racial and colonial entanglements. Finally, I would like to thank Diana Ojeda, Antipode Editor, Andy Kent, Antipode Managing Editor, and the four anonymous reviewers for their generous and critical feedback.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author. Antipode published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Antipode Foundation Ltd.


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