Turning Attention to the Afterlives of Knowledge Infrastructures



When infrastructures cease or fail to serve their original purposes, they do not simply vanish. Rather, they are likely to endure as lively remnants that continue to order relations and exert influence. While increasing focus has been placed on the lingering effects of built structures, the inertial powers of knowledge infrastructures have received less consideration. In this contribution, we call attention to the afterlives of knowledge infrastructures. We do this by showcasing how the knowledge infrastructure established during the Kyoto era to enable carbon offsetting has persisted and extended its influence into post-Paris climate governance. We also highlight the importance of attending to the related problems of commensuration that are likely to intensify and the harms potentially perpetuated. Finally, we suggest that not only the afterlives of offsetting infrastructure but of knowledge infrastructure more broadly warrant more study. The potential here is both analytical, in terms of revealing new aspects of infrastructural inertias and expanding understanding of how infrastructures endure or change over time, as well as practical, in terms of assisting efforts to break path dependencies and leverage more liveable and just futures.




How to Cite

Karhunmaa, K., & Käkönen, M. (2024). Turning Attention to the Afterlives of Knowledge Infrastructures. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 48(2), 99–103. https://doi.org/10.30676/jfas.143115