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Study information

In/visible Spaces of Modern Life

Module titleIn/visible Spaces of Modern Life
Module codeGEO2135
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Roger Auster (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module examines taken-for-granted spaces that are fundamental to making modern life work. They structure our lives and practices but often go unacknowledged – that is, until something breaks, shuts down, or falls apart. From supermarkets to pipelines, these sites, systems of provision, and infrastructures are central to the functioning (and dysfunctioning) of societies, but what do we know about the way they work or fail? This module considers the processes involved in managing and governing these spaces, the lives of those entangled in them and through this important questions of justice and ethics.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to introduce you to a series of spaces, and through them, to consider the connections between people, places and environments. We’ll use ideas from economic geography, more-than-human geographies, and science and technology studies to think about the infrastructural geographies at work in and through these places, and the differential visibilities of such situations to different actors and through the functioning and dysfunctions of these spaces.

Through workshops or local opportunities (online, or face-to-face where possible), you will get to explore module themes in more depth.

All lives are more-or-less implicated in the spaces we consider, but they can often be overlooked as matters of concern or interest. While not an explicit aim of the module, you may use what you learn, and the potential connections made, to explore future opportunities in such spaces.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Give an account of the functioning, dysfuntioning, and significance, of the module’s spaces and their associated infrastructures
  • 2. Consider topological, networked and relational accounts of space through understanding the sites considered

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Outline the ways in which spaces become more or less visible to different actors, and the implications of this differential visibility
  • 4. Apply social theory, and geographical concepts, to the understanding of diverse sites to explain their role in contemporary societies

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Construct arguments that explain and apply geographical ideas, theories and principles
  • 6. Develop independent/self-directed study/learning skills, including time management, working to deadlines, and searching for literature relevant to the module themes

Syllabus plan

A module introduction sets out the shape of the module and the key ideas you’ll be exploring. Through the rest of the module, with opportunities for review, you will look at a series of spaces which will vary from year to year but could include examples such as: the home, the street, natural infrastructure, energy infrastructure, or waste infrastructures.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Workshops/fieldtrips
Guided independent study50Reading
Guided independent study73Assessment Preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Online written responses to promptsOngoing throughout moduleAllInformal oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination1002 hoursAll Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination2 hoursAllWritten

Re-assessment notes

Deferral—if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped, and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral—if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to re-submit the relevant assessment. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Anand, N., Gupta, A., and Appel, H. eds. (2018) The promise of infrastructure, Duke University Press: London
  • Bayliss, K., & Fine, B. (2020). A Guide to the Systems of Provision Approach. Springer Books, Rotterdam.
  • Bridge, G., Barr, S., Bouzarovski, S., Bradshaw, M., Brown, E., Bulkeley, H., & Walker, G. (2018). Energy and society: A critical perspective. Routledge. Abingdon.
  • Callon, M., Millo, Y., Muniesa, F. (Eds.), 2007. Market Devices. Wiley, Oxford
  • Furlong K (2020) Geographies of infrastructure II: Concrete, cloud and layered (in)visibilities. Progress in Human Geography.
  • Hetherington, K. (Ed.). (2019). Infrastructure, Environment, and Life in the Anthropocene. Duke University Press: London.
  • Landa, M.S. (2015). Crude residues: The workings of failing oil infrastructure in Poza Rica, Veracruz, Mexico, Environment and Planning A.
  • Ramakrishnan, K., O’Reilly, K. and Budds, J. (2021) The temporal fragility of infrastructure: Theorizing decay, maintenance, and repair. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.
  • Shove, E. (2007). The design of everyday life. Berg: Oxford
  • Shove, E., Pantzar, M., & Watson, M. (2012). The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes. Sage, London.
  • Star, S.L. (2012). The Ethnography of Infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist.

Web-based and electronic resources:

  • ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE – College to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Key words search

(In)visible spaces, infrastructure, economic, production

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date