Securing and scaling resilient futures: neoliberalization, infrastructure, and topologies of power.
Keywords: resilience, scaling, infrastructure, Foucault, topology
Contemporary resilience policy in the UK (Cabinet Office, 2011, pages 81-83), and beyond (FEMA, 2011), encourages consideration of how devastation at a smaller scale, perhaps a household or neighbourhood, might open up new possibilities to enhance the capacities of larger-scale entities, in order not only to cope better with unknown future events, but to prosper from them (Davoudi et al, 2012; Raco and Street, 2012; Walker and Cooper, 2011). In the UK 'local communities' are now asked by central government "to look upon an emergency as an opportunity to regenerate an area", as "achieved through building new homes or commercial buildings, raising aspirations, improving skills and improving the environment whilst introducing new people and dynamism to an area" (Cabinet Office, 2013, pages 81-83). Or, as O'Malley (2010) puts it, the task becomes "knowing when and how to exploit uncertainty to invent a new better future" (page 506; see also Lentzos and Rose, 2009). Through such processes of scaling--that is, the drawing of scalar hierarchies and relations between governmental centres and margins, cities and neighbourhoods, nations and communities--questions of who and what is to be made resilient, in what manner, and for what purposes, are not only being asked and answered (White and O'Hare, 2014), but preformatted in advance of such decisions.
Set against this backdrop of resiliency scalings, Blackburn (2014) recently proposed a 'scalar perspective' on resilience to disclose "the processes through which power asymmetries arise, are tested and maintained" (page 111). Scalar concepts thus appear to offer an important analytical supplement to a growing body of critical work that addresses the politics of resilience through its neoliberal translations (Amin, 2013; Brassett et al, 2013; Coaffee, 2013; Davoudi et al, 2012; Dean, 2012; Graham, 2010a; Grove, 2013,2014; Joseph, 2013; Neocleous, 2013; O'Malley, 2010; Raco and Street, 2012; Wakefield and Braun, 2014; White and O'Hare, 2014). Notwithstanding different empirical and conceptual foci, much of the critical thrust of this work constructs a particular scaling of resilience, variously termed 'neoliberal decentralization or spirited urbanism' (Amin, 2013, page 147), individual 'responsibilization' (White and O'Hare, 2014, page 946), 'freedom' (Lentzos and Rose, 2009, page 247), 'affective self-control' (Braun, 2014, page 54), 'empowerment' (Grove, 2014, page 244; Joseph, 2013, page 260), 'neoliberal citizenship' (Neocleous, 2013, page 5), or simply 'self-reliance' (Davoudi et al, 2012, page 305). In 'neoliberal countries' at least (Amin, 2013; Joseph, 2013), the concept of resilience has become a socioecological (Holling, 2001), perhaps neo-Darwinian, means to protect economic and political elites by evading care for the vulnerable, whether human or nonhuman (Walker and Cooper, 2011, page 156). For many scholars, the scaling of resilience has clear geographical, political, and ethical attributes: it is a centrifugal flow of power from governmental centres (and the state itself), with conservative motivations, and pernicious effects upon various publics.
Our aim in this paper is to empirically evaluate this 'decentralization thesis' as it relates to UK resilience policy and practice. Following recent resilience policy (Cabinet Office, 2010; 2011) we conceptualize the planning and enactment of UK resilience as in part generated through the infrastructural circulations, specifically those of "energy, food, water, transportation, communications, emergency services, health care, financial services and government" (Cabinet Office, 2010, page 8). But, crucially, our analysis diverges from the domain of critical infrastructure policy (Cabinet Office, 2010; 2011) by acknowledging that governments do not simply act to protect infrastructure from nowhere; rather, infrastructures themselves are also generative of such governmental actions. Working from this recursive view of resilience and infrastructure, we question whether the circulatory mechanisms associated with infrastructures are generative of resiliency practices that might be characterized as increasingly centrifugal, decentralized, or localized, even within professedly 'neoliberal countries' (Amin, 2013, page 150). While extant policy analysis suggests this to be the case (Coaffee, 2013; Davoudi et al, 2012; Joseph, 2013; Lentzos and Rose, 2009; White and O'Hare, 2014), we wish to probe further into what Amin (2013) terms the "material of resilience ... the nature of [its] entities and motilities". Our approach is framed by what Graham (2010b) calls the 'infrastructure turn' in urban research, and in particular Amin's (2013) contention that attention to 'material of resilience', including 'infrastructure capabilities', can serve to "dedramatize and decentre the neoliberal prospectus" (page 141). Thus, we examine how infrastructural networks might be co-opted, or not, within a neoliberal govem-mentality to decentralize responsibility in ways that enable diverse populations to live with, even embrace, unpredictable events. In so doing, we follow the politics of the circulatory mechanisms, arguing that infrastructure--a 'complex assemblage' of humans and non-humans (Graham, 2010b, page 11)--offers to shape flows of matter and energy, that is, of people, water, electrons, gas, food, money, emergency response, vehicles, and indeed policy.
Our motivation to focus upon these flows of matter and energy ultimately stems from Foucault, in particular the emphasis first given in the second lecture in his Security, Territory and Population series (2009) to the governmental management of circulatory flows in securing liberal democracies. Here Foucault (pages 45-41) suggests that protecting the free circulation of humans and nonhumans in ways that do not restrict their flow, is the principal concern of security (Lentzos and Rose, 2009). However, while Foucault's analyses of circulation help us clarify relationships between different modalities of power (2009, pages 29- 53; see also Collier, 2009), it does not detail the contemporary infrastructural mechanisms involved in managing these circulations. In response, we draw upon Foucault's (1980) ascending analysis of power, to focus upon the specific circulatory mechanisms through which infrastructure may become politically and economically advantageous in scaling how populations respond to an uncertain future. Consequently, we do not assume any totalizing capacity to program life under the decentralizing auspices of neoliberal security through infrastructure, accepting that both life (Grove, 2013; 2014) and the materiality of infrastructure itself (Harvey and Knox, 2012) are excessive to such attempts. Our engagement with infrastructure is not intended to develop better political strategies to secure critical infrastructure (Perrow, 2011) or even discuss the translation of neoliberal resiliency models into practice per se (as in Coaffee, 2013; Davoudi et al, 2012; Grove, 2013; 2014; Joseph, 2013; Raco and Street, 2012; Walker and Cooper, 2011; White and O'Hare, 2014). Rather, our specific aim here is to identify and understand how some key circulatory mechanisms of infrastructure might or might not generate more centrifugal, or 'bottom-up' (Blackburn, 2014), scalings of resilience. In so doing we follow Foucault's (1980) productive schema of power, developing Blackburn's (2014) analysis of the politics of scale of disaster management as a way of understanding the "limits of decentred disaster risk management" (page 102), to evaluate the productive power of infrastructure to de/centre resilience.
Our paper is organized into three sections. We firstly define key concepts deployed throughout the paper, and the relationship between them, including vertical scaling and horizontal connectivity, flows of power, and matter energy, as they relate to resilience and infrastructure. In the second section we link the relationship drawn out between these concepts to issues of resilience and security. Our starting point here is Foucault's (2009) Security, Territory and Population lectures, specifically his contention that flows relating to infrastructural operations might be a principal element of the security of liberal democracies. These two theoretical sections contextualize and situate our analysis of the infrastructural scaling of UK resilience in the third section. Here, we begin by outlining the scaling of UK resilience with reference to policy around the de/ccntralization of infrastructure. This section then identifies three circulatory mechanisms--obstruction, filtration, and acceleration-afforded by infrastructure and examines the impact of these three mechanisms in relation to the 'decentralization thesis'. These mechanisms offer opportunities and resistances in how circulations of energy and matter can be modulated, producing scalar relations and hierarchies, and asymmetries of power, that shape how life might cope with a turbulent future. We conclude by discussing the importance of such circulatory mechanisms for debates around resilience, scale, and power.
Scaling with infrastructure
Before embarking on this task we arc aware how such an analysis may risk conflating two seemingly distinct sets of concepts: firstly horizontal connectivity and vertical scaling, and secondly flows of power with those of matter energy. In part our acceptance of these combinations stems from the way in which these categories are linked analytically within academic and policy debate on resilience, but it also derives from our preference, following Foucault and, to an extent, Latour, for topological analyses of power and scale. With respect to verticality and horizontality, the neoliberal decentralization of agency within emergency response and recovery has persistently been conceptualized as a growing localism, within both policy (Cabinet Office, 2010; 2011; 2013a) and policy analysis (Blackburn, 2014; Coaffee, 2013). Concerning flows of power and matter energy, as populations across the globe are urbanized they become increasingly dependent on the stretched-out logistical flows of infrastructure (Amin, 2013; Gandy, 2008; Graham, 2010b; McFarlane, 2008); thus the capacity to disrupt or enable the flow of energy, water, food, or people to households or communities becomes underscored as a conduit, if not proxy (on this see McFarlane, 2010, page 131), of political power (Amin, 2013; Graham, 2010b; Graham and Thrift, 2007; Guldi, 2012). This explains why the 'metabolic circulatory processes' (Swyngedouw, 2006, page 119) that infrastructure enables are infused with relations of power:
"It is these power relations through which human and non-human actors become enrolled, and the socio-natural networks carrying them that ultimately decide who will have access to or control over, and who will be excluded from access to or control over, resources or components of the environment and who or what will be positively or negatively enrolled in such metabolic imbroglios" (Swyngedouw, 2006, page 119).
Beyond these arguments, our approach also derives from Foucault's (1980; 2009) topological analyses of power. Here the perceived scaling up of power, associated with hierarchies and asymmetrical social relations, is explainable through the more or less opportunistic capacities of actors to draw connections between dispersed ideas, materials, and techniques as they become "economically advantageous and politically useful" (Foucault, 1980, page 101). Foucault's (1980) ascending or 'topological' (Collier, 2009) account of power is somewhat analogous to aspects of actor-network theory, especially Latour's (1987) concept of a 'centre of calculation', used to explain how institutions, or indeed individuals, appear vertically scaled up, and powerful, due to their relational, horizontal capacities for 'action at a distance' (Allen, 2011; Amin, 2002). Latour (1987, pages 215-257) conceives these 'macro actors' as 'scaled up', simply in terms of the number and reliability of connections they possess with other sites. Contra Marston et al (2005), Latour and Foucault suggest that commitment to such a relational ontology does not mean replacing vertical, hierarchical scaling with horizontal network connectivity, but rather considering these two processes as mutually constitutive of relations of power (Bulkeley, 2005; Legg, 2009; Leitner and Miller, 2007). Consider, for example, the spatial reach of matter-energy circulations through which representations of other places flow into 'macro actors' within UK resilience policy and practice such as the UK Cabinet Office or National Grid Control Centre; these centralizing connections render actors capable of 'acting at a distance' (Amin, 2002), helping in turn to institute and reify scalings of hierarchies of resilience command and control, naturalizing power asymmetries (Blackburn, 2014).
If we concede, following MacKinnon (2011), that scale is "prestructured and preoccupied" (page 33) and that, contra Moore (2008), scale might indeed have a 'real' material obduracy which precedes political attempts to invoke it, then perhaps part of its stubborn existence is because it too has an infrastructure. Furthermore, this obduracy explains why infrastructure, a series of'life-supporting systems' (Lakoff and Collier, 2010, page 243) of dis/connectivity, becomes so important to analyses of the intersection of power, scale, and resilience:
"What is now highlighted much more vividly than before are all the connections, the cables, the means of transportations, the vehicles linking places together. This is their strength but also, as we are going to see, their frailty" (Latour, 2005, page 176).
Infrastructure, whether roads or telecommunication lines, constitutes 'vital systems' along which the contours and limits of collective life are defined (Lakoff and Collier, 2010) and, in turn, reified in scalar hierarchies. Consequently, by conceptualizing infrastructure networks in this way as both politically and spatially bounded [that is, possessing both political and spatial ends (Graham, 2010a)], we approach a relational account of scale wherein infrastructure "networks have a scalar dimension, both in terms of the ways in which they operate [their agential reach] and the ways in which they are framed, configured and crystallized" (Bulkeley, 2005, page 888; see also Leitner and Miller, 2007). In the context of the professed neoliberal translation of resilience (Coaffee, 2013; Joseph, 2013), the important question now becomes how the mutually constitutive horizontal dis/connectivity, and vertical scaling, of infrastructure, and the metabolic circulations of matter energy it renders possible, might afford shifts in the relative empowerment of actors. It is Foucault, not Latour, who started to examine this question, albeit briefly. Thus, before turning to our empirical discussion of UK infrastructure, we elaborate, using Foucault's topological analyses of power, more fully upon the significance of infrastructure in securing, and in turn scaling, the futures of (neo)liberal democracies.
Topologies of power
"Discipline is essentially centripetal. I mean that discipline functions to the extent that it isolates a space, that it determines a segment. Discipline concentrates, focuses, and encloses.... the apparatuses of security, as I have tried to reconstruct them, have the constant tendency to expand; they are centrifugal. New elements are constantly being integrated.... Security therefore involves organizing, or anyway allowing the development of ever-wider circuits" (Foucault, 2009, page 45, emphasis added).
Foucault's (2009) theorization of governmental power, in terms of opposing but mutually imbricated mobilities heralds, as Collier (2009) suggests, a shift in Foucault's thinking towards a topological, rather than epochal, analysis of power. Here, 'topology' conveys power as being constituted by un/folding relations between different modes of thought and techniques rather than shifts between epochal ages with accompanying geometries of power, as in sovereign, discipline, or governmental (Collier, 2009). Thus, Foucault contends that forms of power predicated on centrifugal circulations, or on allowing degrees of mobility and freedom, are far from antithetical to the problem of discipline--that is, the need to enclose, to survey the detail of bodies--for centripetal flows of knowledge. Applying this theoretical insight to the subject of this paper offers a conceptual break within the decentralization theses of resilience associated with (and potentially reduced to) processes of neoliberalization discussed above. Consider, for example, the ebb and flow of people and things on contemporary border crossings, of enclosures and flows, of discipline and security, targeting (and producing) individuals and populations (Fussey, 2013; Sparke, 2006). Foucault invites us to consider through which circulatory mechanisms governments might manage these directionalities of power. How are flows of matter and energy modulated? Which obstructive and enclosing disciplinary mechanisms exist and fix the detail of individuals and things in space to be surveyed, creating territories alongside the circulatory, biopolitical ethos of security? Which mechanisms allow some individuals, objects, and knowledge to pass, even perhaps speeding them up, while restricting the passage of others?
This Foucauldian (2009) scalar topology of power entails that the task of government consists of asking the question "how should things circulate or not circulate" (page 64), to ensure "things are always in movement, constantly moving around ... but in such a way that the inherent dangers of this circulation are cancelled out" (page 65). But the end of this process is always the survival and optimal development of the population:
"The population is pertinent as the objective, and individuals, the series of individuals, are no longer pertinent as the objective, but simply as the instrument, relay or condition for obtaining something at the level of the population" (Foucault, 2009, page 42).
The parallels with the resiliency scaling of socioecological theories (Holling, 1973; 2001), where the survival of the whole may imply the demise of the individual and vice versa, are evident. However, for Foucault (2009, page 424), unlike for Holling (2001), power is not reified in hierarchies (Ettlinger, 2011); rather it flows and modulates before, during, and perhaps after a shock event. In everyday life power can more easily discipline individual bodies, yet during an aleatory event--whether a famine, flood, earthquake, or terrorist attack--power targets the population through interventions whose outcomes are premised upon health and demographic statistics that function to "optimize a state of life" of an entire population (Foucault, 2003, page 246).
A great deal can be learnt about these topological flows of power and how, in turn, they generate and reify scalar relations and hierarchies, by turning to the apparatuses that most readily regulate circulation in contemporary states: infrastructure (Swyngedouw, 2006). This suggestion derives in part from Foucault's own brief empirical analyses of infrastructure-specifically, the role of the roads of Nantes within security as "a matter of organizing circulation", working alongside "flows of water, islands, air and so forth" (Foucault, 2009, pages 18-19)--and debates concerning the opening and closing of import-export restrictions on French roads and at borders and ports in response to grain shortages in 18th- century France (Foucault, 2009, pages 31-49). Within contemporary states, the group of technologies that regulate these vast circulations are undoubtedly infrastructures, from water and gas pipelines to the flows of electrons that organize finance and telecommunications. Foucault (2009) suggests these enormous, diffusive, technologies of circulation have been the principal concern of securing liberal democracies since at least the 18th century. And yet Foucault's analyses leave many questions unanswered: what mechanisms influence or change the directionality of flows of power; does the speed of the flow influence the operation of power; can these flows be blocked, and if so to what end? Indeed, as Allen (2011) explains, to think power topologically demands we move beyond geometrically plotting the "length and breadth of connections", to consider "the way in which things are connected" (page 289). But, noticeably absent from Allen's (2011) call to think topologically about power are the infrastructural circulatory mechanisms through which governmental 'powers of reach' (page 291) are enabled, obstructed, filtered, directed, accelerated, and slowed (Amin, 2013; Graham, 2010b; Guldi, 2012). And, what is more, with Star (1999) we must acknowledge that "infrastructure does not grow de novo; it wrestles with the inertia of the installed base and inherits strengths and limitations from that base" (page 382; original emphasis). Accordingly, we ask: how might established circulatory mechanisms advance, restrict, or otherwise temper any neoliberal decentralizing refrain? In addressing these myriad questions we reveal how a centrifugal scaling of security and power has indeed become a leitmotif of UK resilience policy.
Scaling UK resilience
It is beyond the confines of this paper to provide a thorough analysis of UK resilience policy (eg, Coaffee, 2013; Joseph, 2013). Instead, in this section, we draw out the scalar component of these policies, questioning why and how decentralization is a key principle of UK resilience policy, and what specific role infrastructure plays. In its broadest terms 'resilience' is defined in UK policy as "the ability of assets, networks and systems to anticipate, absorb, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from a disruptive event" (Cabinet Office, 2011, page 15). But such definitions belie complexities in the policy discourse around this concept, not least those related to its scaling. Notably, Coaffee (2013) identifies a progression in UK resiliency policy "away from nationally driven securitisation and towards local integrated place-based outcomes" (page 244). Coaffee evidences this shift across four overlapping waves: a first, framed by 9/11, concerned with defending critical national infrastructure (CNI) through highly visible technological toughening solutions orchestrated by central government; a second, where central government retains overarching leadership, crystallized in the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act, but now also offers advice to businesses, communities, and government to work together to not simply absorb shocks but take preventive action, for example concerning the protection of CNI; a third, where communities, businesses, and local government are encouraged to embed resiliency in their everyday activities; and a fourth, where central government views a networked group of local actors as the most appropriate platform [or 'building blocks' (Cabinet Office, 2013a)] for place-based adaptation to future shocks. This evolutionary scaling of UK resiliency policy away from central government command and control parallels the transition from engineering to ecological models of resiliency (Holling, 1973), from protection to adaptation. The drivers stated to legitimize such decentralization include: the increasing complexity, and scale, of threats to life, across social and natural spheres (for example, climate change); the increased cost of state protection (Amin, 2013, pages 140-141); the emergence of new technologies and datasets that can empower individuals and communities to assume greater responsibility for knowing and acting in an uncertain future (Joseph, 2013, pages 260-261; White and O'Hare, 2014, page 940); and an ethics of 'human dignity' that prioritizes 'emancipatory outcomes' (Blackburn, 2014, page 110).
Even cursory analysis of infrastructure suggests limits to this decentralizing, neoliberalizing refrain: the mere existence of infrastructure, and acceptance of its criticality to shared security, prosperity, and well-being, appears to bind central government to steadfast responsibilities to invest, protect, maintain, and repair (Coaffee, 2013, page 244). However, as Graham and Thrift (2007, page 18) explain, the geographies of infrastructure repair and maintenance are far from evenly distributed. Indeed in UK policy the distinction drawn between CNI and critical local infrastructure (Cabinet Office, 2011, page 12) enables central government to prioritize investment where the "loss or compromise of these assets would have a severe, widespread impact on a national scale" (page 12). Similarly, definitions of CNI largely encompass infrastructure of perceived economic value, whereas social infrastructure, such as schools or community centres, even the welfare system, are, despite their salience for resiliency (Amin, 2013), excluded from definitions of CNI, but rather labelled as critical local infrastructure (see Cabinet Office, 2011, page 45).
Thus, the scalar selectivity of resilience policy can be used to confirm the neoliberal translation of resiliency into practice, defending the interests and agendas of political and economic elites (Raco and Street, 2012; Walker and Cooper, 2011). However, as Moore (2008) contends, it is imperative not to simply apply the scalings of policy as analytical categories, as in diagnosing the neoliberal, decentralization of resiliency (eg, Coaffee, 2013; Joseph, 2013), but to ask how we might start to explain the existence, operation, and drivers of such scalar hierarchies and relations (between critical/noncritical, national and local, infrastructure) in the first place. We propose that a significant part of the answer to this question lies in infrastructure itself. It is infrastructures that allow policy makers to think and act at a distance by accelerating or obstructing circulations of food, building materials, or information during a shock event, or more subtly filtering the flow of information, money, and materials in emergency planning. After all, the emergency services including emergency planning and management are themselves now formally recognized as a sphere of UK critical infrastructure (Cabinet Office, 2010, page 8). To supplement Wakefield and Braun's (2014) recent pronouncement, our concern lies not with the "government of resilience [and infrastructure]" but "government through resilience [and infrastructure]" (page 5). Our approach is thus not simply to ask how government involves "managing circulation and modulating flows" (Wakefield and Braun, 2014, page 5), but to ask how those infrastructural circulations and flows mould and manage government. It is only by paying attention to such conduits of power that we can even start to change them (Latour, 2005, page 86). In the next section we will propose three infrastructural circulatory mechanisms, as distilled through our analysis of semistructured interviews with a range of UK resilience and infrastructure practitioners,10 through which such policy scalings of infrastructure are being operationalized: obstruction, filtration, and acceleration, each of which offers important infrastructural affordances to the scaling of resilience.
The (unplanned) capacity of infrastructure to obstruct rather than enable the circulation of matter and energy foregrounds its politics (Bennett, 2005; Graham, 2010b). Further, as Graham (2010b) explains, the "construction of spaces of mobility and flow for some always involves the construction of barriers for others" (page 12). Equally, the uneven geographies of infrastructural connections are well known (Gandy, 2008; Graham, 2010b; Guldi, 2012; McFarlane, 2008), and so is the "even social and spatial proviso of back-up and alternative systems" (Graham and Thrift, 2007; see also, eg, McFarlane, 2010). What is less readily acknowledged is how the infrastructural obstruction of circulation, whether more or less intentional, helps constitute the scaling, as well as the spacing and placing, of resilience practices.
Infrastructural obstructions, as they relate to the scaling of resilience, can be grouped into two categories: inadvertent and strategic. Inadvertent obstructions refer to those which appear more spontaneously within an infrastructural network, often because of system complexity, combined with environmental conditions (Bennett, 2005). Strategic obstructions refer to those infrastructural obstructions that are far more consciously and intentionally planned and deliberated over. The former category of obstructions appears most commensurate with the decentralization thesis. One example, drawn from our research, concerns the small village of Arlingham, in the South West of England, located at the limb of the largest meander on the River Severn. The Severn itself is the longest river in the United Kingdom, with a drainage basin covering 11420 [km.sup.2] and has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. Flooding is unsurprisingly common in Arlingham. During winter floods, the village is frequently cut off from transport, power, and communication connections. A local government resiliency officer explains how this community has adapted:
"they are so well organised themselves, they've got their own property protection measures. They're generally not coming to us looking for help and that's just because the community understands the river, understands flooding and has already coordinated themselves as to how they're going to deal with it."
Communities such as Arlingham and their self-help approach, fostered over generations of trial and tribulation with the vagaries of the Severn, are highly amenable to neoliberal, decentralizing, localizing translation; supporting articulations of participatory resilience (see Grove, 2014). However, focusing on such inadvertent infrastructural obstructions alone denies the possibility that obstructions to infrastructure can be intentional. Beyond the uncertain impact of the ongoing Russian threat to 'turn off the gas' and sporadic examples of prolonged UK energy and transport obstructions, (2) the most commonplace strategic infrastructural obstruction, at least within the UK, is the capacity of state and corporate governmental actors to obstruct the flow of information.
During the flooding of parts of the UK in the summer of 2007, (3) the local authority in Gloucester, a small city in the South West of England, was not fully aware of the importance of the Walham electricity switching station, located on a large floodplain of the River Severn: the substation circulated electricity (and dependent infrastructures) (4) to around 500 000 residents in the county and beyond, not least the strategically important Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), located in Cheltenham. (5) The national electricity distributor had not provided information about the significance of this circulation conduit to central or local government; as a result no agency was prepared to protect the site, despite its location in the floodplain (GCC, 2007, page 51).
Information about its significance was belatedly released to central and local government as the flood waters came within two inches of inundating and compromising the switching station. Here the absence of a flow of information, a strategic obstruction of communications infrastructure, not only hindered protection of the population, but served to create a centripetal flow of power to a corporate governmental centre: both local and central government were inhibited from acting before and during an event or even fully recognizing its significance. Eventually a team of governmental agencies, including the armed forces and the local fire and rescue service, desperately mobilized pumps, sandbags, and temporary barriers to protect the site and the residents. Despite repeated calls in the Pitt Report, commissioned by central government in the wake of the public failings of the 2007 floods, to improve the sharing of information between responsible agencies (Pitt, 2007), one local government officer in Gloucestershire with responsibility for emergency planning reiterated how strategic obstructions of information remained commonplace:
"I think there's a degree of data protection, high risk areas like that, with [the electricity distributor,] national power stations and electricity stations. They are very careful, very, they don't really like talking to local authorities about that because they like to keep it very tight. Security."
Intended obstructions constitute a manifest strategy of infrastructure governance. Much knowledge retained, or obstructed, within centralized governmental organizations relates to the strategic decision to obstruct infrastructural flows or not. For example, one rail resilience practitioner explained to us how in the event of an inadvertent obstruction of the London Underground (eg, by a terrorist bornb or fire) a strategic obstruction (that is, the cancellation of services) might be required, but that failure to properly plan this type of response could cause further injury: when sufficiently crowded, the deepest tunnels in the system would quickly run out of breathable air. We were informed that such knowledge is held centrally, outside both local government and infrastructure operators. In a similar vein, a local government resilience officer describes the reluctance of the government-owned national rail operator to work to understand the influence of their assets on flood risk and protection:
"[the rail operator] being national, they're difficult to engage with. But they should be good. They claim to be, because they create huge great dams across the, across the country, their railway lines! Massive issues caused by railway lines and their culverts."
This excerpt suggests again how communications infrastructure is regularly obstructed, and in the process local agencies are unable to act before, and perhaps after, a shock event. But it also reveals a more inadvertent obstruction caused by infrastructure: the rail infrastructure itself, even if beneficial, can cause the damming of flood water. One interviewed local government officer noted how blocked rail culverts contributed to the flooding of local roads and several houses in Gloucestershire in the summer of 2007. By contrast, another local government officer located in North Wales viewed railway embankments as a vital part of their flood defences from North Sea storms and tidal surges. Here information about the potential effects of such inadvertent obstruction, including the location and maintenance of railway culverts and flood relief features, is retained by a central government agency, creating a centripetal force through which resiliency knowledge and action are scaled upwards to a centre of (governmental) calculation (Latour, 1987).
These strategic obstructions of infrastructure, especially communications infrastructure, reinforce a centripetal flow of power towards a government centre. We might expect increasingly frequent inadvertent obstructions of infrastructure, such as in Arlingham, to bring about the affirmation of decentralization or localization in resiliency practice, requiring systems through which actors can be empowered to think and act decisively in a crisis. However, our brief examples suggest the decision space-time of an emergency is always already constituted by infrastructure (Adey and Anderson, 2011), an infrastructure that not only affords capacities to centralize political decision, but is generative of governmental centres and dependent on others. Focusing on infrastructural obstructions, as they play out within resilience practice, contests the proclivity for decentralization within UK resilience policy and its critique. What surfaces instead is a complex milieu of interwoven infrastructural obstructions and flows, more or less intentional, more or less ruinous, but all framed by, or, pace Foucault, generative of, governmental centres.
Despite its significance in the scaling of governmental power, the absolute obstruction of flow is an infrequent experience within UK infrastructural circulations. What is far more common is the filtering of flow: the set of infrastructural processes by which either things are selectively obstructed, or their flow is modified (direction, speed). An infrastructural system is largely composed of rhythms of filtration, whether transport systems with barriers, signs, and laws that filter pedestrians, cars, and heavy goods vehicles by size, speed, and direction, or the assemblages of pylons, substations, and cables that filter electricity by direction, voltage, and current between local, regional, national, and international grids. Social studies of infrastructure have mostly engaged processes of filtration to discuss their affordances for social stratifications (cf Graham, 2010a, page 14). Gandy's (2008) study of Mumbai's infrastructure, where water from rural sources is filtered in massive pipes across deprived urban margins towards the wealthier urban core, offers a vivid example. But the relationship between infrastructural filtrations and resilience scalings remains largely unacknowledged.
Infrastructural mechanisms of filtration, especially information, shape the scaling of resilience policy and practice. Filtrations of information can be categorized as either overt or covert. Overt filtration refers to information that is knowingly filtered by all participants, allowing the reflective selection of specific information. Covertfiltration refers to information that is prefiltered by one group of participants, preventing others from accessing this hidden information without prior consent. The National Risk Register (NRR) (6) offers an example of overt filtration. The NRR is compiled by central government as a declassified list of "the types of civil emergencies people in the UK could face over the next five years" (Cabinet Office, 2013b, page 1); this list ranks threats in terms of the magnitude (spatial and temporal scale, intensity) of their impact and likelihood. The list is overtly filtered by local agencies in order to produce relevant local risk registers and emergency plans, taking into account exposure to particular proximate threats. This overt process of filtration seems to support the decentralization thesis of resilience insofar as it helps local agencies remain reflectively informed about general level of risks but provides sufficient room to translate these into their specific communities; however, within this process centripetal flows of governmental power that delimit capacities for action are also discemable. (7) One local resilience officer explained to us in an interview how his team had "very politely got [their] wrist slapped from the Cabinet Office" by trying to include specific threats, such as a terrorists attack, alongside risks on their community risk register. As he explained, the evaluation of terrorist threats, which are the preserve of centralized security services, must instead be translated into their local risks or consequences, despite requests from the public to better understand local malicious threats.
A more covert example of information filtration concerns critical infrastructure protection. While UK resilience policy provisions lists of both CNI and critical local infrastructure the boundaries between these lists are far from clear-cut: an asset (for example, an electricity substation) might appear critical to the running of services at a local and national level, but, unless deemed necessary by central government, knowledge of this overlap might not be known to local actors (Cabinet Office, 2011, page 45). The imperative to protect knowledge of the scale of the criticality of assets from prospective terrorists is operationalized by the infrastructural filtering of resilience information:
"[our] role is as the custodians of that secret list that they [the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure] hold on critical mass and infrastructure ... the chair of the LRF [Local Resilience Forum] is basically going to task the fire and rescue and the police emergency planners to come up with lists of local critical infrastructure. They will check with [us] to make sure there's nothing from the national point of view which they've missed off their local critical lists and if there is, [the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure] will get in touch with us. We will confirm that we can share that information with the emergency planners so that the views of the sponsoring Government department, whichever sector covers that particular asset, are happy that we share that information."
This example from critical infrastructure protection suggests that processes of information filtering can afford productions of centralized resilience: local actors might remain unaware of the importance of an infrastructure asset until its vulnerability and criticality demands some form of local response that prioritizes its protection, as this interviewee goes on to explain:
"In times of crisis, when there's a major incident or terrorist attack or natural hazards or whatever, we will act almost as a tactical adviser [to the emergency coordination group] to say: 'Look, just to be aware sir, we think you may want to know that there's a critical national infrastructure site adjacent to where this incident is', just so they're making the decisions based on the best information rather than not knowing."
Another account of the filtering of information, concerning local police command and control systems, (8) offers further insight into the specific infrastructural filtration mechanisms mobilized to produce this scalar hierarchy:
"each police force has all these [CNI] sites flagged anonymously on their command control systems, so that [they are] not identifying them as critical national infrastructure sites. But they're flagged so that if there are any incidents at these sites, there's an appropriate police response plan which may include an armed response if it's such a critical asset and to ensure that there are appropriate briefings around neighbourhood policing teams, patrol officers, specialist officers such as search dog handlers and the like, to make sure that they're aware of sites of interest within their force area."
While the scaling of resilience through infrastructural filtrations mostly concerns circulations of information, whether overt or covert, other flows are filtered along similar lines, notably money. One important example concerns the funding calculations of UK flood defence schemes. In the UK, flood defence schemes are funded largely by central government via the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, yet their planning, design, and implementation is usually the responsibility of local government. In other words, central government retains the ability to decide whether a scheme will be implemented or not; the infrastructural mechanism of finance by which money is filtered into particular communities or not is cost-benefit ratio calculation. While no legal rules exist, flood protection schemes in the UK are currently funded if for every 1 [pounds sterling] spent by central government they can deliver at least 8 [pounds sterling] in avoided damages (House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, 2013). In effect this is a form of covert filtration: central government can modify cost-benefit ratio calculations to spatially filter the flow of public money to schemes in order to prioritize government spending targets over local requests for flood defence. Thus, infrastructural affordances to filter circulations, whether of information through police command and control systems or money in flood defence costbenefit ratio calculations, indicate that filtration engenders centripetal flows of power that are constitutive of governmental centres and centralized decision spaces. Conversely, the more overt infrastructural affordance of filtration, such as local interpretations of the NRR, suggests possibilities for neoliberal resilience responsibilization and decentralization, as well as positive forms of community resilience (Blackburn, 2014; Rogers, 2013).
The final circulatory mechanism corresponds to the temporal rate of matter- energy infrastructural flow: acceleration. While filtration can delimit rates of infrastructural flow, it cannot by itself determine the acceleration of flow; this requires a different mechanism. Concerning resilience, infrastructural accelerations of matter-energy often equate to centripetal flows of governmental power (Blackburn, 2014). Here, aleatory phenomena, whether floods or bornb attacks, and the velocity of reactionary formal and informal responses by central government become a measure of centralizing 'scale jumping' (Blackburn, 2014): central government appears to think and act more rapidly at a distance than local actors. A recent example is the Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to conduct a targeted review of transport infrastructure resiliency, along with the acceleration of army personnel, funding, and material into South West England to repair damaged roads, in the wake of the severe winter storms of 2014 (DEFRA, 2014). Here money, people, emergency aid, and information is accelerated at a distance into an area in response to a specific event, whether to pump out flood water, repair damaged railway lines, or prioritize consultations on delayed flood defence schemes. Such capacities to affect rates of infrastructural circulation, of, for example, emergency medicine or disaster information, not only recentralize the governance and practice of resilience but, as Blackburn (2014, page 109) notes, exist as "both a product and a driver of [local] weaknesses and [are] strongly implicated in scale structuration by reinforcing power asymmetry".
However, beyond the reactionary accelerations of central government, infrastructural acceleration can 'overflow' to decentre governmental power. The following account by a local resilience practitioner explains how post hoc responses to a flood event stimulated a localization of decision-making processes and resource management alongside the relocation of sites for interagency interaction:
"Because of all the floods in the county [Gloucestershire in 2007] and all the different organisations involved such as water companies, the Environment Agency, district councils, individual landowners, it was difficult to get anything done, so the County Council stepped in and said they'd take the lead in pulling together the response after the floods. And Gloucestershire was instrumental in getting the local government flood forum commenced and a few other quite high-profile things, and attracted quite a lot of grants."
Here an event, the summer 2007 floods, and central government's accelerated response, served to place a particular group of local government actors centre stage in a new set of resiliency policy initiatives and practices, which then fed into national resiliency practices. Similar processes can also develop vicariously in locations seemingly unconnected to a specific event. As a local resilience planner in the East Midlands stated,
"like the floods in 2007 where some of the companies were caught out, but also hadn't ... they may [have] prepared their own plan, but they hadn't shared them, they hadn't exercised and identified where their gaps were going to be solved. I think there was some desire to do better."
The retrospective tenor of this practice suggests resilience practitioners can reframe the past and 'make failure functional' (Heath-Kelly, 2015). Yet resilience practices also seek to both frame and draw in the future, as well as the past--approaches that "promise ... to secure a valued life and this makes present a good future safety, protection, and care", as Anderson and Adey (2011, page 1096) note. These anticipatory and actuarial logics are generated by the acceleration in the decentralized exchange of information, people, money, and, as Anderson and Adey (2011) explain, affective conditions, which bind together actors' decision making around future contingencies.
Despite accelerating initial responses to certain aleatory events, central government can be bypassed as lateral relations accelerate between actors linked through shared threats, as one resilience planner explains:
"It would also come down to something like commonality of risk as well, and that certainly is my first question about communities of interest or communities geographically, and that does, and that applies within local authorities as well and the core cities group that Kevin (9) and I both sit on, it's ... an unwritten agreement at the moment, but because we are ... we represent the eight largest cities in England outside of London, there's a recognition between them that we have a similar kind of risk profile and there's an unwritten agreement now that we can request mutual aid assistance from each other, so if there is something happening in the North East.... I know that if I'm really stuck, I can phone my colleague in Bristol and say, look, I need some help to take the pressure off me a bit."
Thus infrastructural accelerations, whether of money, people, or information, are constitutive of both centrifugal and centripetal flows of governmental power. The acceleratory capacity of infrastructure not only allows an aleatory event to serve governmental centralization (cf Blackburn, 2014); negotiations and rescalings of resilience practice also remain continuous and circulate along with the movements of objects, resources, people, and information. Nevertheless, the reactionary capacity to accelerate infrastructural circulation in response to an aleatory event remains generative of centralized power, despite the sometimes decentralizing acceleratory aftereffects of that initial acceleration.
Conclusion: infrastructural scalings
Horizontal decentralization and vertical localization have become part and parcel of resilience policy (Cabinet Office, 2013a; Coaffee, 2013; FEMA, 2011) and its critique (Joseph, 2013; Neocleous, 2013; White and O'Hare, 2014; Walker and Cooper, 2011). However, as Amin (2013) rightly contends, resilience, defined as our "capacity to address ambient and unexpected adversity" (page 141), depends upon more than ideology and policy documents per se. It involves circulations of energy and matter: infrastructures. Swyngedouw (2006) proposes "the urban world is a cyborg world, part natural/part social, part technical/part culture, but with no clear boundaries, centres, or margins" (page 118). Yet, when threatened, this urban cyborg recoils into a far less diffuse composition--boundaries, centres, and margins become all too apparent and forceful. When faced by an aleatory event, state governmental and corporate governmental centres appear emboldened through the strategic obstmction and covert filtration of information or funds, dampening the agency of marginalized populations to respond to events. In contrast, other governmental centres (and their marginal populations) are constituted by the initial acceleration and circulation of resources--time, money, materials, and equipment--around emergency events, while vulnerable populations as well as their future dependency and marginal status are reinforced.
Viewed through its infrastructural circulations, the scaling of resilience appears far less decentralizing or localized than policy analysis suggests (Coaffee, 2013; Davoudi et al, 2012; Joseph, 2013; Lentzos and Rose, 2009; White and O'Hare, 2014); instead, centralized forms of governance often appear more, not less, forceful. This point deepens Foucault's brief propositions regarding the alignment between the outcomes and directionality of power, where centripetal (disciplinary) power is generative of individuals and centrifugal (biopolitical) power is generative of populations (Foucault, 2009, pages 44-45). Our analysis suggests that the directionality of power (centripetal or centrifugal) is the outcome of composite circulatory mechanisms. We distinguish practices of obstruction, filtration, and acceleration as infrastructural mechanisms generative of centripetal and centrifugal power and thus individuals and populations. Further, by directing analysis to these mechanisms it becomes possible to disentangle the flow of matter and energy from the directionality of governmental power and the production of its targets. Indeed, these and other infrastructural circulatory mechanisms enact power in multiple directions: inadvertent obstructions, overt filtrations, and acceleratory aftereffects are concomitant with centrifugal governmental power while strategic obstruction, covert filtration, and reactionary accelerations are concomitant with centripetal forms of governmental power. While analytically distinct, these apparently antagonistic flows are often closely interwoven in practice. The UK's National Risk Register is especially elucidating in this regard: it enables the overt filtering of information for local agencies and communities and yet, as a declassified version of a classified document, it covertly filters information, reinforcing the agency of centralized government.
Beyond offering greater analytical purchase on the complexity of scalings of resilience (Blackburn, 2014), our evidence suggests that, at least in the UK, (10) infrastructure is predominantly deployed around shock events to reinforce centripetal flows of power. However, this centralization is not singular. Rather, a variety of at times seemingly contradictory circulatory mechanisms--obstruction, filtration, and acceleration- -partially connect to enact a centralization of governmental power around resilience. While this list is not intended to be an exhaustive survey of this process, its varied composition points to a fractional coherence (Law, 2002) within the centralizing scaling of resilience. The transition between these multiple modalities perhaps even affords the process with greater coherence, greater force. As Law (2002) explains "many inequalities and distributions are fractional effects of noncoherence" (page 200); these produce 'partial connections' that "perform an established disorder in an oscillation between singularity and multiplicity" (page 202).
In the UK the scaling of resilience appears fractionally coherent: diffusive, even decentred, infrastructures centralize infrastructural circulations and governmental power. This paradox remains mostly unacknowledged by proponents and critics of resilience in neoliberal countries but comes into sharp focus if resilience policy and practice are acknowledged as already infrastructural, rather than as acting upon a separate domain of infrastructure, as in studies of critical infrastructure (eg, Lundborg and Williams, 2011; Walker and Cooper, 2011). Not only have infrastructural circulations long afforded governmental actors with overlapping possibilities to centralize influence, decision making, and wealth (Graham, 2010a; McFarlane, 2010; Swyngedouw (2006); they appear more profoundly generative of centres of control that scale the conditions for policy making, whether state government or corporate governmental management. Our analysis thus also challenges the thinking of those such as Allen and Cochrane (2010) and Allen (2011) who argue that topological analyses of power and the quiet (Allen, 2011, pages 291-292), perhaps even silent (for example, strategic obstructions and covert filtrations), circulatory registers they reveal, refute "a top-down or centre-out geography" of state power (Allen and Cochrane, 2010, page 1075). Instead, the minutiae of infrastructural circulations and the unfolding topological mechanisms in which diverse populations are connected are shown capable of constituting, not disturbing, hierarchical scalar geometries (Law, 2002). Almost forty years ago Foucault (2009, pages 44-45) suggested we pay attention to the topological directionalities of governmental power in response to aleatory events, their interwoven and changing enclosures and flows. We have argued here that this task also implies we acknowledge that geometries and topologies of governmental power are to a significant extent infrastructural. Thus, the politics of infrastructure does not simply concern sociospatial distributions of dis/connection (Guldi, 2012, page 23); infrastructure is not merely a life support system (Lakoff and Collier, 2010, page 243); the circulations it modulates also scale political agency. Centralized government--state, corporate, or both-cannot harness infrastructural flows to acquiesce with or challenge prevailing neoliberal agendas (Blackburn, 2014); rather, centralized power is always already an effect afforded by the possibilities of these diffusive circulations.
Acknowledgements. This paper was based upon research conducted within the EPSRC- ESRC funded research project 'Resilient Futures' (EP/I005943/1). We would like to acknowledge the contribution of all of those involved in this project in shaping our ideas within this paper, especially Indraneel Sircar. We are also especially grateful to those organizations and individuals that contributed their time to this research.
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(1) Between 2010 and 2012, thirty-eight semistructured interviews were conducted with a wide range of self-identified UK resiliency practitioners, including those working with local authorities, private infrastructure operators, central government, and governmental agencies. Interviewees were asked to describe their everyday practice and how it is affected by wider organizational contexts.
(2) The strategic obstruction of infrastructural flows such as electricity, water, and food, is rare within the UK. Nevertheless we were made aware by one interviewee, of an incident in the summer of 2008 when a French-owned electricity company requested that office air conditioners in London be switched off to reduce grid load in order to offset their continued use in France. The potential use of computerized 'dynamic demand' systems, where energy companies can modify energy use, suggests further similar strategic obstructions. Historical examples include government restrictions on the movement of people and animals in rural areas after the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak and emergency drought orders that restricted water supplies during the 1976 heat wave.
(3) On 20 July 2007 the UK experienced exceptionally high rainfall. The Severn catchment in Gloucestershire experienced between one and two months of rainfall in a single day. In Gloucestershire alone 4000 homes were flooded and 45 000 were cut off from electricity (GCC, 2007).
(4) Electricity usually enables many other infrastructural flows, especially water, gas, and telecommunications.
(5) GCHQ is the UK government's signals intelligence and information assurance organization.
(6) The National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies is published by the Cabinet Office (eg, 2013b). The document was first compiled in 2008 and was updated in 2013. The document is a declassified version of the annually conducted National Risk Assessment rendering it a form of covert filtration.
(7) A related argument is made by Gabrys (2014) concerning the use of environmental data in 'smart city' frameworks, which allow users to overtly filter data in order to respond, but that response is then constrained, or covertly filtered.
(8) Police command and control systems are computer-based systems which include maps, law enforcement records, automated officer dispatch, and field reporting, enabling police services to coordinate responses to a range of incidents.
(9) Kevin is a pseudonym.
(10) In the Global South inadvertent infrastructure obstructions are more commonplace (McFarlane, 2008)
School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LEU 3TU, England; e-mail: email@example.com
Department of Sociology, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester C04 3SQ, England; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire LEU 3TU; England; e-mail: email@example.com Received 9 July 2014; in revised form 13 January 2015
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|Author:||Sage, Daniel; Fussey, Pete; Dainty, Andrew|
|Publication:||Environment and Planning D: Society and Space|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2015|
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