Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power

Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power

Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power

Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power

Synopsis

Taking as his case-study the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, where 600,000 people lack easy access to potable water, Erik Swyngedouw aims to reconstruct, theoretically and empirically, the political, social, and economic conduits through which water flows, and to identify how power relations infuse the metabolic transformation of water as it becomes urban. These flows of water which are simultaneously physical and social carry in their currents the embodiment of myriad social struggles andconflicts. The excavation of these flows narrates stories about the city's structure and development. Yet these flows also carry the potential for an improved, more just, and more equitable right to the city and its water. The flows of power that are captured by urban water circulation also suggest that the question of urban sustainability is not just about achieving sound ecological and environmental conditions, but first and foremost about a social struggle for access and control; a strugglenot just for the right to water, but for the right to the city itself.

Excerpt

Geography and environmental studies are two closely related and burgeoning fields of academic enquiry. Both have grown rapidly over the past few decades. At once catholic in its approach and yet strongly committed to a comprehensive understanding of the world, geography has focused upon the interaction between global and local phenomena. Environmental studies, on the other hand, have shared with the discipline of geography an engagement with different disciplines, addressing wide-ranging and significant environmental issues in the scientific community and the policy community. From the analysis of climate change and physical environmental processes to the cultural dislocations of post-modernism across the landscape, these two fields of enquiry have been at the forefront of attempts to comprehend transformations taking place in the world, manifesting themselves at a variety of interrelated spatial scales.

The ‘Oxford Geographical and Environmental Studies’ series aims to reflect this diversity and engagement. Our goal is to publish the best and original research in the two related fields and, in doing so, demonstrate the significance of geographical and environmental perspectives for understanding the contemporary world. As a consequence, our scope is deliberately international and ranges widely in terms of topics, approaches, and methodologies. Authors are welcome from all corners of the globe. We hope the series will assist in redefining the frontiers of knowledge and build bridges within the fields of geography and environmental studies. We hope also that it will cement links with issues and approaches that have originated outside the strict confines of these disciplines. In doing so, our publications contribute to the frontiers of research and knowledge while representing the fruits of particular and diverse scholarly traditions.

Gordon L. Clark Andrew Goudie Ceri Peach . . .

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