Home-Making Through Water: The Water-Mediated Multiple Territorialization of Urban Households
A household is not only composed by family relationships but also composed by the daily practices with material, especially of water. This article explores the micro-infrastructures of water, technology objects, household management, and the order and disorder of water, conceptualizing such water-related practices as practices of household territorialization and boundary management. Examining the geographies of household water, we found that the water metabolism of households is closely connected to the regional water infrastructure, but such a connection is veiled by an ideology that treated the modern households as an isolated and autonomous spatial envelope. However, an autonomous modern household is soon disillusioned when encountering disorder of water, including water shortage, clogged pipes and water leak. Moreover, the deployments of water treatment technologies and the exclusion of filthy water just reveal the anxiety and awareness of water quality, and can be seen as boundary drawing and territorialization. The household water management is also embedded within family relationships, embodying the gender division of labor. The meanings of water are mediated via different water practices: the “purified water” is produced through the practices of cooking and drinking, the “flowing water” is produced through daily cleansing work, and the “recycled water” just reflects the economic or ecological concerns among water consumers.