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Neoliberal Water Infrastructure, Informality, and the State in Cairo 1952-2017: A Case Study of Ezbet El-Haggana

Khalil, Deena Mahmoud Sobhy; (2019) Neoliberal Water Infrastructure, Informality, and the State in Cairo 1952-2017: A Case Study of Ezbet El-Haggana. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between neoliberalism, politics, and water infrastructure in informal areas in Egypt. It explores the extent to which reforms within Egypt’s potable water sector have impacted access to water in informal areas, and uses this to understand the political role played by infrastructure in Egypt, and particularly how it mediates between citizens and the state. I find that although neoliberal reforms implemented in Egypt’s water sector from the 1980s to the present have increased access to public water infrastructure in Haggana, this has taken place through a process of unbundling of rights such that access to water is being disconnected from broader questions of adequate housing as a bundle of rights. Furthermore, I argue that infrastructure has been one of the main channels through which the state has governed informal areas. I find that examining the governance of water infrastructure in informal areas exposes the “flexibility” in how the Egyptian state governs infrastructure. I argue that this flexibility is a result of the ad hoc nature of power in governance and the uneven quality of the state’s authority and reach. This flexibility creates a waterscape constituted by overlapping infrastructures, practices, and actors, making traditional binaries such as public-private and formal-informal meaningless. Finally, I argue that public infrastructure in general is deployed by the state – both materially and discursively – as a vehicle to ensure its presence in people’s daily lives, and to generate public sentiments of progress and modernity. While more “spectacular” forms of infrastructure such as roads and bridges have been effective at doing this, more subtle forms such as water infrastructure have tended to expose the limitations of state power in regards to creating actual change and improvements in people’s lives.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Neoliberal Water Infrastructure, Informality, and the State in Cairo 1952-2017: A Case Study of Ezbet El-Haggana
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 > 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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10080993
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