Networked urban services through the lens of interdependencies: The scope and limits of a social science concept

By Kevin Caillaud, Hélène Nessi, Bénédicte Rulleau

In the field of networked urban services, the question of “interdependencies”—globally understood as mutual relations producing reciprocal effects—has long been relegated to second place. It was only explicitly considered when analysing the vulnerability of services and networks and the cascade effects generated by crises. Nevertheless, over the last ten years, this notion has become more acute, particularly under the effect of global changes and the development of cross-cutting and multi-level approaches to public action. But what does this notion of interdependence mean in practice? How does it translate empirically? What interest(s) does it present from a heuristic point of view? And what methodological imperatives does it call for? This introductory chapter of special issue of the journal Flux aims to answer these questions by opening a space for dialogue and reflection at the intersection of an epistemological exploration of the notion in the human and social sciences and six original contributions. Specifically, this chapter clarifies the meaning and content of the notion, with an emphasis on the analysis of “matter” and forms of interdependence.

  • networked urban services
  • interdependencies
  • infrastructures
  • actors
  • epistemology
  • approaches
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