‘waiting for the master’s dams to crack’: Hydro-dependency, Water Autonomy and world-Literature

New Formations - ISSN 0950-2378
Volume 2021 Number 103

‘waiting for the master’s dams to crack’: Hydro-dependency, Water Autonomy and world-Literature
Sharae Deckard, pages 134-155
DOI: 10.3898/NEWF:103.08.2021

Abstract

This article examines ‘hydro-dependency’ in the neo-liberal era, exploring the cultural patterning and representations corresponding to the socio-ecological relations organising the extraction, production and consumption of water, both as commodity and as energy in the neo-liberal regime of the capitalist world-ecology. I investigate how specific infrastructures of riparian water management and hydropower – the pipeline and the dam – are mediated in world-literary hydropoetry and hydrofiction and the ways in which they are depicted as producing path-dependence and asymmetric distribution, often through tropes that evoke pathologised social addiction or exhaustion. However, I also demonstrate how texts reconceive water in terms of interdependence and hydrosocial interrelation, thus countering the hegemonic discourses through which flowing water is transformed into exchangeable, quantifiable commodities or forms of energy. As such, I argue that these water-insurgent texts turn on a dialectical tension between hydro-dependency and autonomy that mediates the contradictions facing the appropriation strategies of the neo-liberal hydrological regime.

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To cite this article
Sharae Deckard (2021) ‘waiting for the master’s dams to crack’: Hydro-dependency, Water Autonomy and world-Literature, New Formations, 2021(103), 134-155

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