Fenna Smits is a PhD candidate in Political Sociology at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR). She holds a Bachelor in Cultural Anthropology (UvA) and a Master in Social Sciences Research (UvA). Her research interest lies at the intersection of infrastructures, participation, and politics. During her masters she did fieldwork with graffiti artists who address social and ecological concerns in marginalised neighbourhoods of Bogotá.
In her current dissertation project she continues to study how citizens organise around social and ecological concerns in neighbourhoods in the Netherlands. A celebrated logic in contemporary Dutch governance is that of decentralisation and granting citizens self-responsibility and individual choice in the delivery of social and environmental services. In this process of decentralisation actors experiment with new infrastructures and forms of governance.
Based on a multi-sited ethnographic research on community organisation and maintenance of collective infrastructures, ranging from welfare delivery, clean waste water, and renewable energy, this dissertation project assesses how decentralised infrastructures are organised and experienced in actual practices.
The aim of this study is to articulate the complexities surrounding daily life with, and maintenance of, decentralised infrastructures and the new forms of governance generated in these practices. It does so by taking into account the experiences and evaluations of those who work and live with decentralised infrastructures. Practically, then, the research aims to trace best practices so as to strengthen, and contribute to discussing, them.
2018 - 2020