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Bodies as urban infrastructure: Gender, intimate infrastructures and slow infrastructural violence

Truelove, Yaffa; Ruszczyk, Hanna A.

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Authors

Yaffa Truelove



Abstract

Drawing from deep longitudinal and ethnographic work, this article interrogates a set of key relationships between bodies, gender and infrastructure in the context of understanding cities such as Bharatpur and Dhangadhi in Nepal as well as Delhi, India. This article seeks to make two contributions. First, utilizing feminist political geography approaches, we examine bodies as infrastructure, referring to how the social and material work of the body helps to build, develop and maintain cities through gendered infrastructures in the everyday. We show conceptualizing bodies as infrastructure reveals important and intimate dimensions of the everyday politics and social and material forms that enable critical resources to flow and integral networks be built in cities. Second, we demonstrate from our comparative case studies the ways that gendered “slow infrastructural violence” accrues through patterns of infrastructural invisibility. Particular bodies act as urban infrastructure in everyday and unremarkable ways, shaping the uneven social and political consequences of embodied infrastructural configurations. We specifically examine slow violence and informal financial infrastructure in Bharatpur and the provisioning of health in Dhangadhi followed by the exploration of slow violence and fragmented water in Delhi. This article thus raises a simultaneous call for theoretical engagement with the socio-materiality of infrastructure and the body, an increased regard for the multiplicity of urban infrastructures, and an interrogation of gender and infrastructural politics in cities where more people will be living in the future and where politics and infrastructure are being actively created.

Citation

Truelove, Y., & Ruszczyk, H. A. (2022). Bodies as urban infrastructure: Gender, intimate infrastructures and slow infrastructural violence. Political Geography, 92, Article 102492. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102492

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 20, 2021
Publication Date 2022-01
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 30, 2021
Journal Political Geography
Print ISSN 0962-6298
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 92
Article Number 102492
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2021.102492

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