Concepts of Water

from an anthropological perspective

Various concepts try to make water tangible from a social or cultural science perspective. Some of them are presented here. The selection will continue to be developed.

Bacteriological City

Matthew Gandy states that the modern city in (Western) Europe emerged as a spatial configuration in the 2nd half of the 19th century until the 3rd quarter of the 20th century. Within this process a hydrological transformation took place accompanied by a shift from small private systems of water supply and sewage to unified, integrated and often public forms. The bacteriological city initially developed as a communal project, was then driven by national interests and reached its peak during the 1950s and 1960s. Since a wave of privatization of state supply and disposal infrastructures it has been in disintegration. As a result, the bacteriological connection between water and civil rights dissolved and the notion has been lost, that the city is responsible for enabling certain basic needs for its citizens.


Gandy, Matthew (2005): Das Wasser, die Moderne und der Niedergang der bakteriologischen Stadt
Leviathan Vol. 33, No. 4 (Dezember 2005), pp. 522-543 (