Road Diplomacy

International Infrastructure and Ethnography of Geopolitics in 21st Century Asia

Marie S. Curie Individual Action Grant Project 751131

by Galen Murton

Friendship Highway, Tibetan Plateau. © 2014 Galen Murton


The objective of my Marie S. Curie Individual Action Grant project Road Diplomacy is to understand where, why, and to what extent roads are being built between China and South Asia and to untangle the inter-related geopolitical and social impacts of infrastructure development at village, national, and international scales. The project will first map road developments throughout the trans-Himalaya and second investigate the geopolitical drivers and social impacts of road construction throughout spaces of Highland Asia. By combining innovative methods from geography, anthropology, and international relations, the project aims to produce new empirical data on infrastructure development in 21st century Asia and illustrate the links between macro geopolitical processes and micro local experiences. Anticipated datasets will improve interdisciplinary communications for social scientists and between development practitioners, donor agencies, policymakers, and local stakeholders. As part of the European Commission Horizon 2020 framework, Road Diplomacy research is also of immediate and broad relevance to a range of stakeholders, from Europe and the Americas to China, Nepal, and the many places in between.

Highland Asia Research Group
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany | +49 89 2180 9639

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