Literary Infrastructure: The Production, Circulation, and Consumption of Literature in Jordan
Adely, Tariq Issa
Davis, Rochelle A
This thesis draws on multi-sited ethnographic interviews and observation in Jordan to argue for an infrastructure-based approach to literary production, circulation, and reception. I argue that by focusing on the material and social conditions that undergird the literary sphere we can begin to understand how individuals imagine possibilities for themselves within the field of literature and cultivate connections with broader communities. I address these questions by analyzing what I call "literary infrastructure": a historically constituted set of interlinked actors, sites, pathways, practices, and technologies that enable and condition the movement of literary texts. I first examine the historical development of the infrastructure, focusing upon the lack of Jordanian state support for print literary culture as well as the linkages between Amman and other cultural hubs in the region. Secondly, I chart how individuals such as writers and booksellers create a literary infrastructure by traversing the cityscape of Amman, carrying out phatic labor, and identifying innovative uses of technology. Such practices are highly contingent and mediated by access to socioeconomic resources, positionality, and mobilities. Lastly, I analyze how the contingent nature of the infrastructure generates ontological instabilities wherein actors regularly engage in boundary-work to reify their definitions of legitimate literary practice and stake a place for themselves within the literary field. Building on this infrastructural approach, I examine a sense of placelessness articulated by my interlocutors for whom “Jordan” does not constitute a meaningful category to understand literary practice. I argue that regular breakdowns in the infrastructure and the lack of robust state support structure local possibilities for literary practice and often forestall a sense of belonging. Engagements with broader transnational networks for literature in locales like Cairo and Beirut further shape perceptions, highlighting the lack of opportunities within the local milieu and the absence of a state-supported infrastructure. In sum, I argue that attachments to a place or community—Jordanian or otherwise—are not purely symbolic or discursive creations. Rather, the material conditions and social networks involved in production, circulation, and consumption—the infrastructure—are central to understanding how individuals make sense of literary practice, cultivate a sense of belonging, struggle against placelessness, and imagine themselves as part of a community.
Embargo Lift Date
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Physicians' Patient Load Per DRG, the Consumption of Hospital Resources and the Incentives of the DRG Prospective Payment System Munoz, Eric; Mulloy, Katherine; Goldstein, Jonathan; Josephson, Jordan, (1990-08)