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Accepted Paper:

So close and yet so far away: Negotiating construction of water pipeline in a Slovakian peripheral region  


Hedvika Novotna (Charles University in Prague)
Dana Bittnerova (Charles University)
Martin Heřmanský (Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

Our paper focus on the situation of a peripheral Slovakian village which have to deal with absence of drinkable water due to combinational of environmental and structural conditions. We will discuss the frameworks in which the construction of water pipeline is being negotiated by different actors.

Paper long abstract:

Since 2008 we have been conducting ethnographic research in the small village in Southern Slovakia. This region have been considered a periphery for a long time and never have been a main target of the infrastructural development, due to unfavourable sociodemographic and economic markers. The village suffers from the absence of drinkable water, because ground water has been contaminated by non-ecological agricultural production and combination of structural reasons such as disinterest of the state in development of this type of settlements and economic calculations of water supply enterprise prevented successful construction of the water pipeline.

Our paper deals with negotiations concerning the construction of a water pipeline between municipality officials and the state and water supply enterprise. Understanding the infrastructures as a media through which political power and symbols operate, we wonder in this paper how this battle for drinkable water is reflected in the political and social relations both within the municipality and in its relations with regional and national political centres. We argue that the problem of establishing infrastructure reveals vulnerability of marginalized areas and populations on the one hand and their resilience on the other. By focusing on how the infrastructure which would solve the unfavourable environmental conditions of the village's inhabitants is being negotiated, we are interested in what strategies of adaptation or resilience does the absence of infrastructure create, both on individual/communal and official/unofficial local social and political levels.

Panel P165
Environmental Hazards and the European Periphery