From Crisis to Societal Resilience: Socio-Technological Innovation, Infrastructural Participation and Democracy (Infra-Demos)


This anthropological project (Infra-Demos) studies the relationships between infrastructures and innovative socio-technological forms of participation arising within the infrastructural gap (IG). Infra-Demos investigates the social dynamics and assesses the capacities – and theoretical potentials – of such activities towards building societal resilience and transformative policies. Focusing empirically on Greece, aims to extend theoretically the findings beyond the case.

IG emerged in the West after the rupture of the 2008 crisis and refers to the difficulty of the State and private sector to sustain infrastructural networks. In 2015, the Global Economic Forum and Financial Times raised warnings about IG within G20 countries. While IG has affected the totality of infrastructural development, the most apparent results are in soft infrastructures (public services and welfare), related to a crisis of social reproduction.

In Europe, infrastructures are the realm wherein the state and the market materialise the majority of the democratic social contract. Citizens therefore experience IG as a challenge of the entire political paradigm. Governments now promote notions of 'Participatory Society’ (NL) or 'Big Society' (UK) in response to this crisis. Yet, on a practical and theoretical level, infrastructures lie at the core of the debate.

Greece is at the centre of the current Euro-crisis, giving rise to novel and innovative forms of civil activity focused on IG. The application of self-management and peer-to-peer practices—inspired by the commons and economic solidarity—and by using digital and other technological innovations, allow new crisis-resilient socio-technological systems to emerge.

I seek to explain the relationship between IG and novel forms of civil participation. I will apply both qualitative and quantitative research methods, including digital and traditional ethnography, the compilation of datasets, and application-oriented participant research. The overarching aim is to provide empirical material for innovative policies and social action by theorising the redefinition of infrastructures, democracy and society within the ongoing shifts in Europe.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. D. Dalakoglou

Affiliated with

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Sociale en Culturele Antropologie (SCA)


01/09/2017 to 31/08/2022