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Presented By: Institute for Social Research

Sensing Water in Mexico City

Water Ways: New Social Science, Science Studies, and Environmental Approaches to Water

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Sensing Water in Mexico City
Branko Kerkez and Elizabeth F.S. Roberts, University of Michigan

Monday, Feb. 14, The Open Talks will be held noon to 1pm, and the Grad Workshops will be held 1 to 3pm.
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Abstract:
A growing number of the world’s urban households only receive water intermittently. In this paper we describe our multi-disciplinary project, bringing together engineers and ethnographers, that seeks to sense the effects of intermittency in working class neighborhoods in Mexico City. We installed newly engineered water sensors in participant households, allowing us to apprehend previously unseen dynamics, for example that weekly versus daily intermittency has substantial effects on water quality. Through ethnographic data from these same households we found that in regards to the constant labor of managing water, daily versus weekly intermittency also has complex and counterintuitive effects on domestic life. Our ethnographic/engineering collaboration allows us to document complex water phenomena, that we could not have seen on our own, and by sensing how these complex water dynamics produce different household water ways we have more of a sense of what the future might hold.

This is a part of the Research Center for Group Dynamics (RCGD) Winter 2022 Series - "Water Ways: New Social Science, Science Studies, and Environmental Approaches to Water"

This is also a part of the class Anthrcul 558 section 002
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