A contemporary voice that won’t fade easily: The legacy of Professor Ian Taylor

Special issue on the life and work of Professor Ian Taylor, published by Contemporary Voices: The St Andrews Journal of International Relations

Abstract of the introduction

This article serves as the introduction to a special issue which undertakes a modest attempt at mapping and honouring the life and work of the late Professor Ian Taylor. It sketches Ian Taylor’s personal and professional milestones and outlines some of his main scholarly contributions, before outlining the structure and content of this special issue. With this “special” special issue, we chose to place emphasis not only on Ian’s lasting scholarly legacy but also on the impact he had on his students. The special issue fosters conversation about Ian’s work among some of his former PhD students and leading scholars in the research domains Ian was involved in. We hope to trigger further debate about an inspiring and influential intellectual, scholar and educator.

Link to the special issue

Capitalism and Africa’s (infra)structural dependency: A story of spatial fixes and accumulation by dispossession

New chapter, co-authored with Ian Taylor, in Africa and the Global System of Capital Accumulation, edited by Emmanuel O. Oritsejafor and Allan D. Cooper

Instead of expediting “Africa’s transformation”, as suggested by the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) of the African Union (AU) (PIDA, n.d.), this chapter argues that the recent upsurge in infrastructure development has reinforced the continent’s dependency on external actors and fosters patterns of accumulation by dispossession. We are helped by David Harvey’s theory of spatio-temporal fixes and the key functions it attributes to infrastructure and debt in the global system of capital accumulation. The chapter proceeds in four stages. The chapter first briefly recounts Harvey’s concepts of the spatio-temporal fix and accumulation by dispossession. In a second step, we contextualize Africa’s recent infrastructure boom and situate it against the wider saga of “Africa rising.” The third part of the chapter scrutinizes China’s rise as the continent’s new “infrastructure giant” and problematizes particularities of the “Chinese infrastructural fix” in Africa. The chapter then concludes by extrapolating some trends that we believe will become increasingly relevant in Africa’s infrastructure sector and that underline the enduring function of infrastructure as “means of dispossession” (Cowen 2017).

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