What Is Water?: The History of a Modern Abstraction

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We all know what water is, and we often take it for granted. Because it seems so natural, we seldom question how we see water. But the spectre of a worldwide water crisis suggests that there might be something fundamentally wrong with the way we think about water.

Jamie Linton dives into the history of the modern concept of water, that water can be stripped of its wider environmental, social, and cultural contexts and reduced to a scientific abstraction – to mere H20. This abstraction has given modern society licence to dam, divert, and manipulate water with impunity, giving rise to a growing suite of problems. Linton argues that part of the solution to the water crisis involves deliberately reinvesting water with social content.

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University of British Columbia Press
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