Working the Socio‐Natural Relations of the Urban Waterscape in South Africa


In this article I seek to bring together recent work on ‘the production of nature’ with feminist standpoint theories. I do this in order to explore some of the potentials for democratic change in the South African city of Durban. In spite of the shared methodological assumptions of the two bodies of work, there has been little effort to develop a dialogue. In initiating this, I begin by outlining some of the theoretical foundations underlying the two theories. Then I go on to suggest some of the ways in which a relational approach to urban environments sheds light upon the politics of water service provision in Durban. From this, I suggest that a feminist standpoint approach might open up different possibilities for democratic change. However, I argue that this should begin not from a romantic view of some untainted or non‐reified consciousness of the socio‐natural but rather from the situated knowledges that emerge from the struggle to survive in a world defined by both capitalist and non‐capitalist social relationships.