Article Information


Anastasiya Halauniovaa,
Liubov Chernyshevab
(corresponding author. E-mail:

aUniversity of Amsterdam, Netherlands
b European University at St. Petersburg, Russia

Citation: Halauniova A.V., Chernysheva L.A. (2017) Plastik, velosipedy i gorodskiye grazhdanstva: dva sluchaya reorganizatsii infrastruktur v Sankt-Peterburge [Plastic, bicycles and urban citizenships: two cases of urban infrastructures’ reorganization in St. Petersburg]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(3): 7-31 (in Russian).

Full Text (PDF)

Abstract. The article is concerned with the scripts of urban citizenship’ emergence in which residents are connected with communities of different scale through the usage of the infrastructures. We examine two cases of urban infrastructures’ reorganization in St. Petersburg: the introduction of bike renting system in 2014 and efforts in the building of separate waste collection system. Based on the interviews with the users, city bureaucrats, activists, as well as participant observations and digital ethnography, we analyze several issues concerning the formation of urban citizenship. First, we illustrate the diversification of communities’ scale that infrastructures connect its users to, which are the community of users and the city in general as an object of care. Second, we compare the performed practices of citizenship with the scripts and orientations built into the infrastructures by its producers. In contrast to the producers’ expectations, infrastructures may acquire specific moral-political connotations that were not considered before. And finally, we show how various practices of infrastructure usage work as ‘political drivers’ capable of transforming an urban dweller into the ‘responsible citizen’. We emphasize how the infrastructures are problematized by the city residents and how they become ‘visible’: it is not always preceded by the systems’ breakage, but instead it may be problematized become of the particular moral framing in which some of the infrastructures are considered as ‘dangerous’ and their users as ‘irresponsible’ dwellers.

Keywords: citizenship, infrastructure, city, sustainability, community, collection of garbage, cycling


The work was carried out with the financial support of the Russian Foundation for Humanitarian Research within the framework of the project «Quality of urban space: vectors of development of civic initiative groups in Russia and Germany» (№ 16-03-00508). Additionally, the authors are grateful to the members of discussion meetings, organised by Science and Technology Studies Center at European University at St. Petersburg, and especially, to Olga Sezneva and Diana West, for their valuable advice on the first drafts of the analytical papers that later became a foundation for this article.


Akrich M. (1992) The de-scription of technical artifacts. In: Bijker W.E., Law J. (eds.), Shaping Technology/Building Society: Studies in Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge MA: MIT Press: 205–224.

Aksenov K.E. (2011). Social segregation of personal activity spaces in a post-transformation metropolis (case study of St. Petersburg). Regional Research of Russia, 1(1): 52–61.

Aksenov K.E. (2012) Trends in the accessibility of public space in the post-Soviet metropolis: Shrinkage or expansion? Regional Research of Russia, 2(4): 329–338.

Aldred R. (2010) ‘On the outside’: Constructing cycling citizenship. Social & Cultural Geography, 11(1): 35-52.

Anand N. (2011) PRESSURE: The PoliTechnics of water supply in Mumbai. Cultural Anthropology, 26(4): 542–64.

Anand N. (2012) Municipal disconnect: on abject water and its urban infrastructures. Ethnography, 13(4): 487–509.

Anderson B. (2001) Voobrazhayemyye soobshchestva [Imagined communities]. M.: KANON-press-TS; Kuchkovo pole (in Russian).

Baptista I. (2015) ‘We Live on Estimates': Everyday Practices of Prepaid Electricity and the Urban Condition in Maputo, Mozambique. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(5): 1004–1019.

Bennett J. (2009) Vibrant matter: A political ecology of things. Duke University Press.

Chalfin B. (2008) Cars, the customs service, and sumptuary rule in neoliberal Ghana. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 50(2): 424–53.

Chipkin I. (2007) Do South Africans exist?: nationalism, democracy and the identity of 'the people'. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Collier S.J. (2011) Post-Soviet Social: Neoliberalism, Social Modernity, Biopolitics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

DeMaio P. (2009) Bike-sharing: History, impacts, models of provision, and future. Journal of Public Transportation, 12(4): 41–56.

Doughty K., Murray L. (2016) Discourses of mobility: institutions, everyday lives and embodiment. Mobilities, 11(2): 303–322.

Edwards P.N. (2003) Infrastructure and modernity: force, time, and social organization in the history of sociotechnical systems. In: Misa T.J., Brey P. (eds.), Modernity and Technology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press: 185–225;

Fennell C. (2011) «Project heat» and sensory politics in redeveloping Chicago public housing. Ethnography, 12(1): 40–64.

Galloway A. (2006) Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gandy M. (2006) Planning, anti-planning, and the infrastructure crisis facing metropolitan Lagos. Urban studies, 43(2): 371–396.

Gandy M. (2008) Landscapes of disaster: water, modernity and urban fragmentation in Mumbai. Environment and Planning, 40: 108–30.

Gladarev B. (2011) Istoriko-kul'turnoye naslediye Peterburga: rozhdeniye obshchestvennosti iz dukha goroda [Historical and cultural heritage in St. Petersburg: the birth of the public from the spirit of the city], in: Kharkhordin O.V. (ed.) Ot obshchestvennogo k publichnomu [From common to public]. SPb.: EUSP Press: 71–304 (in Russian).

Gladarev B. (2013) Opyty preodoleniya «publichnoy nemoty»: analiz obshchestvennykh diskussiy v Rossii nachala XXI veka [Experiences of overcoming "public dumbness": analysis of public discussions in Russia at the beginning of the XXI century], in: Rossiyskoye obshchestvo v poiskakh publichnogo yazyka: vchera, segodnya, zavtra [Russian society in search of a public language: yesterday, today, tomorrow]. 15-17.01.2013, EUSP. SPb.: EUSP Press: 13–19 (in Russian).

Goryachev I.N. (2011) Model' razvitiya territorial'nogo obshchestvennogo samoupravleniya v regionakh Rossii [Model of the development of territorial public self-government in the regions of Russia]. Izvestiya vysshikh uchebnykh zavedeniy. Povolzhskiy region. Obshchestvennyye nauki [Bulletin of higher educational institutions. The Volga region. Social science], 1(17): 77–84 (in Russian).

Graham S., Desai R., McFarlane C. (2013). Water wars in Mumbai. Public Culture, 25(1): 115–141.

Graham S., Marvin S. (2001) Splintering urbanism: networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. Psychology Press.

Graham S., Thrift N. (2007) Out of order: understanding repair and maintenance. Theory, Culture & Society, 24(3): 1–25.

Green J., Steinbach R., Datta J. (2012) The travelling citizen: emergent discourses of moral mobility in a study of cycling in London. Sociology, 46(2): 272–289.

Hawkins G. (2006) The ethics of waste: How we relate to rubbish. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Hecht G (2011) Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War. Cambridge, Mass. & London, England: MIT Press.

Hecht G. (2001) Technology, Politics and National Identity in France. In: Allen M. and Hecht G. (eds.), Technologies of Power. Cambridge and London: MIT Press: 253–294.

Holston J. (2009) Insurgent citizenship in an era of global urban peripheries. City & Society, 21(2): 245–267.

Humphrey C. (2005) Ideology in infrastructure: architecture and Soviet imagination. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute,11(1): 39–58.

Jones P. (2005) Performing the city: a body and a bicycle take on Birmingham, UK. Social & Cultural Geography, 6(6): 813–830.

Kalacheva O. (2007) Obshchiye i obshchestvennyye veshchi sovremennogo goroda [Common and public things of the modern city]. Neprikosnovennyy zapas [Emergency ration], 5(55). [] (available at 11.03.2015) (in Russian).

Kiseleva A.M. (2008) Razvitiye territorial'nogo obshchestvennogo samoupravleniya v krupnom gorode [Development of territorial public self-government in a large city]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological research], (10): 73–80 (in Russian).

Kleman K., Miryasova O., Demidov A. (2010) Ot obyvateley k aktivistam: zarozhdayushchiyesya sotsial'nyye dvizheniya v sovremennoy Rossii [From the philistines to the activists: the emerging social movements in modern Russia]. M.: Tri kvadrata (in Russian).

Klimov I. (2014) «Konstruktivnyye» i «protestnyye» dvizheniya kak resurs izmeneniya sotsial'nykh praktik ["Constructive" and "protest" movements as a resource for changing social practices]. Zhurnal issledovaniy sotsialnoy politiki [Journal of Social Policy Studies], 12(2): 201–216 (in Russian).

Lefebvre H. (1996) Writings on cities. Blackwell, Cambridge, MA.

Makhrova A.G., Golubchikov O.Y. (2012) Rossiyskiy gorod v usloviyakh kapitalizma: sotsial'naya transformatsiya vnutrigorodskogo prostranstva [Russian city in the conditions of capitalism: social transformation of the inner city space]. Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta [Bulletin of Moscow University], 5: 26–31 (in Russian).

Mann M. (2008) Infrastructural power revisited. Studies in Comparative International Development, 43(3-4): 355–365.

McCann E. (2011) Urban policy mobilities and global circuits of knowledge: toward a research agenda. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101(1): 107–130.

McFarlane C. (2008) Governing the contaminated city: Infrastructure and sanitation in colonial and post‐colonial Bombay. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32(2): 415–435.

Meddin R., DeMaio P. (2015) The bike-sharing world map [http://] (available: 23.05.2016).

Mokhov S.V. (2016) Rynok ritual'nykh uslug v sovremennoy Rossii: polomka pokhoronnoy infrastruktury kak vlastnyy resurs [The market of ritual services in modern Russia: the breakdown of the funeral infrastructure as an imperious resource]. Sotsiologiya vlasti [Sociology of power], 28(4): 83–103 (in Russian).

Parkin J. (eds.) (2012) Cycling and sustainability. Vol. 1. Emerald Group Publishing.

Perezolova A.S. (2015) Gorodskiye elektronnyye referendumy: opyt proyekta «Aktivnyy grazhdanin» [Urban electronic referendums: the experience of the project "Active citizen"]. Vlast' [Power], 2: 108–113 (in Russian).

Pols J. (2006) Washing the citizen: washing, cleanliness and citizenship in mental health care. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 30(1): 77–104.

Pucher J., Buehler R. (2012) City cycling. MIT Press.

Purcell M. (2003) Citizenship and the right to the global city: reimagining the capitalist world order. International journal of urban and regional research, 27(3): 564–590.

Rojas-Rueda D., de Nazelle A., Tainio M. & Nieuwenhuijsen M.J. (2011) The Health Risks and Benefits of Cycling in Urban Environments Compared with Car Use: Health Impact Assessment Study. British Medical Journal, 343: 356–363.

Schnitzler A. Von (2008) Citizenship prepaid: Water, calculability, and techno-politics in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, 34(4): 899–917.

Secor A. (2004) «There is an Istanbul that belongs to me»: citizenship, space, and identity in the city. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 94(2): 352–368.

Shaheen S.A., Shaheen S. & Zhang H. (2010) Bikesharing in Europe, the Americas, and Asia: Past, Present, and Future. Transportation Research Record, 2143: 159–167.

Smith M.P. & McQuarrie M. (eds.) (2011) Remaking urban citizenship: organizations, institutions, and the right to the city. Vol. 1.New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Star S.L. (1999) The ethnography of infrastructure. American behavioral scientist, 43(3): 377–391.

Tykanova Ye., Khokhlova A. (2014) Trayektorii samoorganizatsii lokalnykh soobshchestv v situatsii osparivaniya gorodskogo prostranstva [Trajectories of self-organization of local communities in a situation of challenging urban space]. Sotsiologiya vlasti [Sociology of power], 2: 104–122 (in Russian).

Usacheva O. A. (2011) Ekologicheskiy aktivizm v postsovetskoy Rossii i zapadnom mire (sravnitel'nyy analiz) [Ecological activism in post-Soviet Russia and the Western world (comparative analysis)]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological research], 3: 23–31 (in Russian).

Vlasova Ye.G., Antipina Z.S. (2015) Strit-art i dvorovoye blagoustroystvo kak formy osvoyeniya gorodskogo prostranstva (na primere sovremennoy Permi) [Street art and beatification as a form of urban space development (exemplified by modern Perm)]. Etnograficheskoye obozreniye [Ethnographic Review], 5: 73–82 (in Russian).

Wafer A. (2012) Discourses of infrastructure and citizenship in post-apartheid Soweto. Urban forum, 23(2): 233–243.

Wenger E. (2001) Communities of practice. International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences. N. Y.: Cambridge University Press: 2339-2240.

Winner L. (1980) Do artifacts have politics? Daedalus, 109(1): 121–136.

Zakirova M. (2009). Obrazy goroda v mobilizatsii gorodskogo obshchestvennogo dvizheniya (na primere Sankt-Peterburga) [Images of the city in the mobilization of the urban social movement (on the example of St. Petersburg)], in: Romanov P.V., Yarskaya-Smirnova Y.R. (red.) Obshchestvennyye dvizheniya v Rossii: tochki rosta, kamni pretknoveniya [Social movements in Russia: points of growth, stumbling blocks]. M.: OOO «Variant»: TSSPGI: 180–205 (in Russian).

Zeemering E.S. (2009) What does sustainability mean to city officials? Urban Affairs Review, 45(2): 247–273.