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Publication Details

Reference
Hellberg, Sofie  (2015) Water, life and politics: Exploring the contested case of eThekwini municipality through a governmentality lens. CCS Seminar:  : 1-11.

Summary
This article explores biopolitical effects of water governance. Based on narrative interviews with water users in eThekwini municipality, South Africa the article inquires into how water service delivery matters in terms of peopleís lives. What we learn by paying close attention to the water usersí narratives is that the ways in which water service delivery are carried out in eThekwini have differentiating effects on how
water users perceive themselves and their lives. Moreover, the narratives show how the municipalityís techniques of targeting certain types of populations as appropriate for particular technological solutions require that the water users exercise different forms of agency in order to safeguard access to water.

This reading of peopleís water stories suggests that the hydropolitics of eThekwini consolidates the disconnectedness of the different lives that are lived in Durbanís communities. Ultimately, such a biopolitical reading of the water usersí narratives illustrates how water performs a function in constituting both life and lifestyles and that an implementation of the right to basic water can work so as to produce, or further entrench, distinctions between different forms of life.

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