PhD defence

Infrastructure Lives

PhD candidate LM (Lena) Hommes MSc
Organisation Wageningen University, Water Resources Management

Wed 6 July 2022 16:00 to 17:30

Venue Omnia


Water concerns us all: it is in our bodies, in our food, in our everyday lives. We are also all embedded in a wide system of water infrastructures: through our consumption of tap water, our showers, the reservoir lakes where we go for a walk, the food which we consume and which was probably partially produced with water from far-away arid regions, through being citizens of states that are involved in water infrastructure construction at home or abroad. However, despite the omnipresence of water infrastructures; their workings, uneven effects and embedded norms and morals are often hidden, especially for those not directly or violently affected by them. Opening the black box of infrastructure then becomes important to expose embedded worldviews, morals, norms, choices, assumptions and (potentially unequal) power relations in order to make them bespreekbaar.

This PhD research does precisely this by providing analytically deep snapshots of different momentums of infrastructural existence and associated contested imaginaries about nature, society and infrastructure in Turkey, Peru and Spain. It includes an analysis of the first stage of infrastructure life (conception and pre-construction contestations), an examination of the multiple and uneven territorial transformations during infrastructural existence, and inquiries about removal as the potential final phase of an infrastructure’s life. At the same time, this thesis is also importantly about those human and nonhuman relations and lives that evolve around infrastructures and that are shaped by infrastructures’ manifold material, hydrological, ecological and socio-political effects. This research thereby demonstrates how hydraulic infrastructure provides a fascinating lens to dissect and understand the questions, power struggles and enactments of debates about nature, society and the entwinement of both.