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The Everyday Politics of Water: Services and Citizenship for the Urban Poor in Kathmandu, Nepal

Butcher, Stephanie; (2019) The Everyday Politics of Water: Services and Citizenship for the Urban Poor in Kathmandu, Nepal. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis focuses on the ‘everyday politics of water’ inside a single informal settlement in Kathmandu, Nepal, and how this shapes experiences of citizenship for diverse residents across the settlement. A key contribution of this thesis is an analytical framework unpacking the ‘everyday politics of water’. This explores the ‘politics’ of how daily material practices around water are produced by, and productive of, gender, ethnic, or tenure relations. This is set against wider urban trends unfolding in Kathmandu, including environmental and demographic change, gender relations and social norms, and policy and programmatic approaches of the water sector. This thesis particularly offers a contribution in linking these scales—bridging the analysis of urban drivers in Kathmandu with a deeper analysis of how localized social and power relations are negotiated through water. This notion of everyday politics is secondly linked with a feminist reading of urban citizenship. The thesis claims that everyday negotiations around water are linked with citizenship values including recognition, redistribution, solidarity, and self-determination. This supports an analysis of water interventions beyond the technical ‘nuts and bolts’ of provision, to a deeper understanding of the broader embodied, discursive or symbolic role water infrastructure plays, and how this shapes citizenship experiences for diverse individuals. Eight months of qualitative and participatory field research in Bansighat, Kathmandu, is presented in three analytical chapters across scale: city, community, and body/household. Each chapter takes as its entry point two different material practices, demonstrating how these are underpinned by different values or perceptions, and how this in turn reflects or remakes social relations. In doing so, this thesis explores how social-power relations are related to: belonging in the city (chapter 5), participation in water management and community life (chapter 6), and how water is accessed across public and intimate spaces, and by diverse bodies (chapter 7). Ultimately this develops a rich portrait of the ways in which diverse residents relate to water, as well as to citizenship.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Everyday Politics of Water: Services and Citizenship for the Urban Poor in Kathmandu, Nepal
Event: UCL
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071506
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