Royal Geographical Society/ Institute of British Geographers
Annual International Conference 2013
August 28-30, 2013
Organiser: Deljana Iossifova, University of Manchester
This session aims to bring together research related to one of the most perturbing issues for growing and developing cities of the Global South and their existing and future residents: attitudes toward excretion.
Excretion-related cognition, perception and behaviour in cities remain understudied despite the obvious importance of these factors for the provision of appropriate urban sanitation: available ethnographic studies reveal that urban interventions aimed at the sanitation of the city and orchestrated at different levels of governance hardly ever match the needs of (poor) urban residents and often disregard the significance of sanitation-related conditions for the mental and physical health of individuals. Differences in defecation practices of social groups often result in negative attitudes toward and in the avoidance or rejection of those who choose or are forced to defecate in the open, determining the eventual inclusion or exclusion of individuals and groups. Albeit frequently associated with development, success and the higher social status of owners, rapidly spreading conventional flush and discharge systems may not only be unaffordable, but also environmentally unsustainable for reasons of water scarcity or frequently underdeveloped treatment facilities in cites of the Global South important factors to consider in the transformation of the built environment under conditions of depleting resources and climate change. These are just some of the emerging topics around urban sanitation which require the urgent attention of scholars and practitioners alike.
The session will use excretion-related cognition, perception and behaviour in rapidly transforming cities of the Global South as an axis to link wider debates around the individual and the social, around private perceptions and public policy, as well as around the multitude of other connected yet seemingly remote dimensions of urbanity, urban development and urban life be they gender, class or poverty; governance and infrastructure; or social, economic or ecological sustainability. Papers will contribute directly to knowledge in human geography and may cross disciplinary boundaries with, for instance, urban anthropology and social/environmental psychology. They will advance efforts to provide appropriate and sustainable sanitation and management systems for current and future urban residents based on a thorough understanding of their attitudes and needs.
Please send an abstract of not more than 250 words to Deljana Iossifova deljana.iossifova[at]manchester.ac.uk by 5.00pm on Friday 8th February.
University of Manchester