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What is Water?: The History of a Modern Abstraction

By: Jamie Linton

University of British Columbia Press

Paperback | Aug 2010 | #188200 | ISBN-13: 9780774817028
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £27.95 $37/€32 approx
Hardback | Mar 2010 | #184163 | ISBN-13: 9780774817011
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £71.50 $93/€81 approx

About this book

We all know what water is and many of us take it for granted. But because it seems so natural, the way we see water is seldom given critical attention. This book provides a much-needed analysis of how we view water, showing that modern understandings have given rise to a global crisis. Jamie Linton argues that modern Western society tends to understand water as a scientific abstraction - as merely H2O or the substance occurring in the hydrologic cycle. We have lost sight of its essential fecundity and stripped it of its wider environmental, social, and cultural contexts. This removal, or abstraction, has given modern society license to treat water as something that may dammed, diverted, and manipulated with impunity. The water crisis can be averted, Linton concludes, by deliberately reinvesting water with social content.

The book demonstrates, in a clear and concise fashion, the ways in which contemporary social relationships with water have constituted a crisis... The subject is of fundamental importance and the author's emphasis on the need to posit environmental concerns within a socio-natural understanding is vital. - Alex Loftus, Department of Geography, University of London

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JAMIE LINTON is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

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