Naturalizing Inequality

Water, Race, and Biopolitics in South Africa

Hardcover ($60.00), Ebook ($60.00) Buy
More than twenty-five years after the end of apartheid, water access remains a striking reminder of racial inequality in South Africa. This book compellingly argues that in the post-apartheid period inequality has not only been continuously reproduced but also legitimized.

Michela Marcatelli unravels this inequality paradox through an ethnography of water in a rural region of the country. The Waterberg Plateau is a space where agriculture, conservation, and extraction coexist and intersect. Marcatelli examines the connections between neoliberalism, race, and the environment by showing that racialized property relations around water and land are still recognized and protected by the post-apartheid state to sustain green growth. She argues that the government depicts growth as the best, if not only, solution to inequality. While white landowners maintain access to water, however, black ex-farmworkers are dispossessed once again of this essential-to-life resource.

If the promise of growth serves to normalize inequality, the call to save nature has the effect of naturalizing it even further.

 
“This book takes us past generalizations about inequality to delve into the complex realities of the Waterberg. While South Africa is lauded for increasing water access, Marcatelli shows how the government’s prioritization of economic growth means that the apartheid history of unequal access to water is not only perpetuated but legitimated.”—Mary Galvin, University of Johannesburg
 
Naturalizing Inequality
184 Pages 6 x 9 Published: 2021 Hardcover (9780816539505)
Ebook (9780816544295)

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.

Inquire

Requests

The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.

Request

Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.

Give