Why Invisible Power and Structural Violence Persist in the Water Domain

Lyla Mehta
Volume 47 Issue 5
Published: 25 November 2016
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19088/1968-2016.165
Abstract: This article argues that inequality in access to water and sanitation is largely caused and legitimised by different forms of invisible power that prevent universal access. It shows how invisible power combined with structural violence and experiences of unequal citizenship result in dismal access to water that cause systematic harm to poor and marginalised women and men. The article also argues that invisible power and other forms of power imbalance have ended up naturalising water inequalities around the world. While the inalienable universality of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their focus on inequality must be celebrated, unless the power imbalances that perpetuate inequality are tackled head on by both policymakers and activists, the SDGs will not achieve social justice. It is thus important for both the sufferers of water injustices as well as water justice advocates to challenge structural violence and invisible power in the water domain.


From Issue: Vol 47, No 5 (2016) | Power, Poverty and Inequality