Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons

Astrida Neimanis


Our own bodies, which are primarily composed of water, elucidate the problem of thinking about bodies in binaristic terms as either “natural” or “cultural.” We are both materially and semiotically entwined with other bodies of water in a gestating, differentiating and interpermeating relation. This paper begins by laying out this relation as an “onto-logic” of amniotics, which is in part clarified through Gilles Deleuze’s theory of difference and repetition. I move on to propose that thinking about our amniotic relations to other human and more-than-human watery bodies can help us reconsider the rapid development of new hydrological technologies, water commodification and other stresses on our water resources. While these mounting crises have led to international calls for recognizing water as a human right, I suggest that the promotion of a radically embodied “hydrocommons” might be better suited for negotiating the interbeing of bodies of water on this planet.

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