Based on a historiographical review, this paper attempts an interpretation of the role of history in the field of urban networked infrastructures studies. Indeed, history has had an important role in the emergence of social science network studies and in the building of some of the most successful interpretative paradigms, with both considerations on the context of decision making processes and the study of the social inertia involved in the development of networks. However, many questions remain on the role of history in present debates. Considerations on the time-factor in network development, and the originality of the historical method, do not always fulfil the need for methodological innovation anymore. The aim of this paper is therefore to try and indicate some possible tracks for a renewal of the historical approach in the field, from a new political economy of urban infrastructures, to the history of the governance of technical systems, a micro-history of decision making processes or a spatialization of the reading of institutional conflicts.
Special Report: Varia 2006By Denis Bocquet