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Water, Life, and Profit
Fluid Economies and Cultures of Niamey, Niger
Sara Beth Keough and Scott M. Youngstedt
188 pages, 31 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-337-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-338-7 eBook
“By rightly balancing the global and local forces that shape everyday water insecurities in Niamey, the authors do an excellent job of providing a detailed ethnographic account that is relevant beyond their respective disciplines: Geography and Anthropology… an excellent portrait of water and society.” • Modern African Studies
“The strength of the Keough and Youngstedt book lies in the extensive ethnographic research and oral testimonies of 205 individual interviews and eight focus group interviews with water vendors, consumers, producers, and managers. This book is an interesting scholarly piece which attempts to fill the gap that scholars have rarely attempted and offers a clarifying lens for understanding this critical and multifaceted concept.” • African Studies Quarterly
“[This book] Provides excellent ethnographic details and reflections on the cultural, social, political, and economic circulations of water in the capital city of Niamey.” • Hilary Hungerford, Utah Valley University
“Sets out a rich and complex topic in ways that are both accessible and sufficiently nuanced. There is probably no more urgent issue than the question of clean and sustainable access to water in Niger.” • Barbara Cooper, Rutgers University
Water, Life, and Profit offers a holistic analysis of the people, economies, cultural symbolism, and material culture involved in the management, production, distribution, and consumption of drinking water in the urban context of Niamey, Niger. Paying particular attention to two key groups of people who provide water to most of Niamey’s residents - door-to-door water vendors, and those who sell water in one-half-liter plastic bags (sachets) on the street or in small shops – the authors offer new insights into how Niamey’s water economies affect gender, ethnicity, class, and spatial structure today.
Sara Beth Keough is Professor of Geography at Saginaw Valley State University. Her research focuses on material culture and human-environment interactions in West Africa and Canada, particularly water access and urban development in resource-dependent communities. She has served as Editor of the academic journal Material Culture since 2008.
Scott M. Youngstedt is Professor of Anthropology at Saginaw Valley State University and President ex officio of the West African Research Association. He has been conducting ethnographic research in Niger over the past 30 years.