Connectivity, Geopolitics, and Maritime Networks: The Infrastructural Power of Shipping Flows

Federico Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The Covid-19 pandemic, the global infrastructure push and the connectivity-turn in global politics has repositioned infrastructure and the management of material and digital flows at the center of geopolitics. This has renewed interest and incentivized investments in transport infrastructure globally and has fostered a competition for influence and sway in third countries via transport corridor initiatives and connectivity partnerships. Through the usage of maritime network analysis combined with qualitative methodology, this paper showcases the different roles states play in governing shipping flows through connectivity strategies, trade policy, infrastructure investment and other policies. In doing so, this paper argues that the control over the movement of goods has infrastructural power qualities, as theorized by Michael Mann, in that it extends the reach of states beyond its territory. States have attempted to acquire this infrastructural power historically to economically outcompete other states but also to obstruct rival states through the denial of access to global trade lanes. During the first period of globalization and western hegemony after WWII this
infrastructural power over the flow of goods was used to expand and grow international shipping lanes, this trend is now changing and conflicts over connectivity are growing.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2022
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event63rd ISA Annual Convention 2022: A Wider Discipline for a Smaller World - Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Nashville, United States
Duration: 28 Mar 20222 Apr 2022
Conference number: 63


Conference63rd ISA Annual Convention 2022
LocationGaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address

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