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Bodies as urban infrastructure: Gender, intimate infrastructures and slow infrastructural violence

Truelove, Yaffa and Ruszczyk, Hanna A. (2022) 'Bodies as urban infrastructure: Gender, intimate infrastructures and slow infrastructural violence.', Political geography., 92 . p. 102492.


Drawing from deep longitudinal and ethnographic work, this article interrogates a set of key relationships between bodies, gender and infrastructure in the context of understanding cities such as Bharatpur and Dhangadhi in Nepal as well as Delhi, India. This article seeks to make two contributions. First, utilizing feminist political geography approaches, we examine bodies as infrastructure, referring to how the social and material work of the body helps to build, develop and maintain cities through gendered infrastructures in the everyday. We show conceptualizing bodies as infrastructure reveals important and intimate dimensions of the everyday politics and social and material forms that enable critical resources to flow and integral networks be built in cities. Second, we demonstrate from our comparative case studies the ways that gendered “slow infrastructural violence” accrues through patterns of infrastructural invisibility. Particular bodies act as urban infrastructure in everyday and unremarkable ways, shaping the uneven social and political consequences of embodied infrastructural configurations. We specifically examine slow violence and informal financial infrastructure in Bharatpur and the provisioning of health in Dhangadhi followed by the exploration of slow violence and fragmented water in Delhi. This article thus raises a simultaneous call for theoretical engagement with the socio-materiality of infrastructure and the body, an increased regard for the multiplicity of urban infrastructures, and an interrogation of gender and infrastructural politics in cities where more people will be living in the future and where politics and infrastructure are being actively created.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:19 August 2021
Date deposited:20 August 2021
Date of first online publication:20 August 2021
Date first made open access:30 September 2021

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