Infrastructures of Injustice: Retheorizing democracy

Authors: Leila Harris*, University of British Columbia
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Water Resources and Hydrology, Africa
Keywords: citizenship, infrastructure, water and sanitation, Ghana, South Africa, state
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Rampart, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Building on work of everyday states and stateness, political ecologies of the state, and hydraulic citizenship related themes, I ask: how do water conditions, access, and governance link to important narrations and negotiations related to state-society, or linked ideas of state responsibility or legitimacy? Given water politics and inequalities, how do everyday citizens also focus on differentiated water access and conditions as key to contesting state legitimacy or trust in government? The research finds these linkages to be of particular importance in South Africa, given the ongoing contestation and politicization of service delivery, but less so in the context of Ghana. Taken together, I ask: What critical refashionings of state-society dynamics, or citizen and state roles and responsibilities are expressed, and made possible in relation to context specific relationships and patterns of the HRW in varied sites--both as a concept, and set of policy instruments? More broadly, what are the implications for theories and practices of democracy?

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