Sociology Index


Infrastructure in Marxist theory or political economy theory, refers to the base or economic foundation of society upon which the culture and social institutions of society are built. The concept of infrastructure is similar to Mode of Production and would include the forces of production and the relations of production. Infrastructure is the basic physical and organisational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. Infrastructure is the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function. The term infrastructure generally refers to the technical structures like roads, water supply, sewers, power grids and telecommunications. Infrastructure is the foundation that supports a system or organization. In computing, information technology infrastructure is composed of physical and virtual resources that support the flow, storage, processing and analysis of data.

The U.S. National Research Council panel term "public works infrastructure" referred to: "...both specific functional modes - highways, streets, roads, and bridges; mass transit; airports and airways; water supply and water resources; wastewater management; solid-waste treatment and disposal; electric power generation and transmission; telecommunications; and hazardous waste management - and the combined system these modal elements comprise.

A comprehension of infrastructure spans not only these public works facilities, but also the operating procedures, management practices, and development policies that interact together with societal demand and the physical world to facilitate the transport of people and goods, provision of water for drinking and a variety of other uses, safe disposal of society's waste products, provision of energy where it is needed, and transmission of information within.