Life in Debt / Debt to Life: Water Insurgencies in Europe

A Talk by Dr. Andrea Muehlebach, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto
Co-sponsored by the People, Equity, and the Environment group at the Yale School of the Environment

Talk Abstract:
The paper tracks two forms of debt that conflict at the volatile edge of the financial frontier: A debt to water as life that movements articulate as they defend water as a common good, versus the indebted life that arises out of the extraction of financial value from vital urban infrastructures through municipal debt financing. As neoliberalism reconfigures the relationship between debt and life, and as investors make claims on the infrastructural future of cities, water movements have pushed back at the expanding financial frontier and articulated a very different quality and temporality of value.

More about Dr. Muehlebach
Dr. Andrea Muehlebach is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. Her research broadly explores the politics and ethics of economic life. Her first book, The Moral Neoliberal: Welfare and Citizenship in Italy (2012), examines neoliberalism’s moral authoritarianism through the privatization of social welfare in Northern Italy. Her second book, A Vital Politics: Water Insurgencies in Europe, is under review and tracks the politics of water privatization, financialization, and re-municipalization in austerity-era Europe.

April 26, 2021
6 pm EST, join via Zoom
Admission: Free, with registration
Registration: Event has ended

View the full spring schedule here.

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