“It matters what stories tell stories, it matters what thoughts think thoughts, it matters what worlds world worlds. …We need to destabilize our own stories, to retell them with other stories, and vice versa” – Donna Haraway, May 14, 2014.
Through ethnographic research, Hydraulic City has been made with stories told by Mumbai’s residents, its experts, and its journalists. It has also been formed by the proliferate scholarship on water, citizenship and the city. Arranged under a series of themes, the stories gathered here animate and lie alongside the arguments made in the book.
What is water? How have the relationships between water been studied? How might an attention to the life of water trouble our neat divisions of social and natural worlds?
In recent years, policy makers and activists alike have been concerned about imminent resource scarcities, particularly of fresh water. Yet, when demand and supply are both flexible, what is scarcity? How much water does one person need? What kinds of social worlds do concerns over scarcity produce?
What makes a city? While cities have for long been important locations for human settlement, their meanings and powers have constantly been refigured across time and space. According to the United Nations, ninety percent of all future urban growth will take place in cities of Asia and Africa. How will emerging practices of urbanism in these locations challenge and refigure the ways in which we imagine, make and inhabit cities?
Infrastructures are material and symbolic processes that are central to the management of social and political life. How are infrastructures brought into being? And what kinds of persons do infrastructures form? To attend to infrastructures is to attend to critical imaginaries, symbols and practices with which worlds are made.