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Mustafa, Daanish, Khan, Muhammad Salman, De Nardi, Helmut, Caron, James, Naz, Arab, Shinwari, Mohsin and Gul, Aneela (2023) 'Hydro-heritage for healing? Examining the gendered experience of water in post-conflict Swat, Pakistan.' Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. (Forthcoming)

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Water has been formulated as a resource or a hazard within water resources geography. We propose that reframing of water as hydro-heritage opens up richer analytical possibilities for examining the pluriverses and multiple ontologies that animate gendered experience of water. We are concerned with how hydro-heritage has or could have contributed to healing in the post-conflict Swat valley of Pakistan. We highlight how the Taliban insurgency and the reconstruction following its military defeat displaced people's worlds of meaning in Swat. We find that the pre-conflict mountain springs were a site for an enchanted affective encounter between humans and non-humans, where a multifaceted gendered experience of water was enacted. The developmental imaginaries of the Pakistan state in the post-conflict reconstruction phase and the accompanying social changes deracinated water and springs from their pluriversal moorings towards ‘modern water’ with damaging material and emotional consequences for the people of Swat. This was particularly pronounced in terms of gendered access to water, health and mobility. We suggest that water as hydro-heritage has the potential to heal, provided people's worlds of meaning and experience of water are recentred in developmental imaginaries.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Conflict, reconstruction, development, gender, affect, water
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies
Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
ISSN: 25148494
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2023 09:36
Funders: British Academy

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