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Mineral springs, primitive accumulation, and the “new water” in Mexico

Casey Walsh

English abstract: This article explores the process of centralization of water resources by the Mexican nation-state between 1880 and 1940, and, in particular, how the postrevolutionary state facilitated, after 1920, the transference of control over the Topo Chico mineral springs from the local agrarian community to industrial bottling companies. Using archival evidence, it highlights the importance of science and law in this process and argues that centralization must be understood in terms of “primitive accumulation.” The article focuses on hot mineral springs, which provide a privileged window on centralization and primitive accumulation but are largely ignored in the historiography of water.

Spanish abstract: El artículo explora el proceso de centralización de los recursos hídricos por parte del Estado Mexicano entre 1880–1940, y particularmente analiza la manera en que después de 1920 el estado posrevolucionario facilitó la transferencia del control de las comunidades agrarias locales de los manantiales de Topo Chico, a las empresas embotelladoras industriales. Utilizando fuentes de archivo, el autor evidencia la importancia de la ciencia y el derecho en este proceso, y muestra que la centralización debe entenderse con base en la “acumulación primitiva”. Este artículo se centra en el estudio de las fuentes minerales termales, las cuales a pesar de ser una ventana privilegiada para la centralización y la acumulación primitiva, han sido ampliamente ignoradas por la historiografía hídrica.

French abstract: Cet article explore le processus de centralisation des ressources hydriques par l'Etat-nation mexicain entre 1880 et 1940, et en particulier la façon dont l'Etat postrévolutionnaire a facilité, à partir de 1920, le transfert du contrôle des sources hydriques de Topo Chico des communautés agraires locales aux entreprises d'embouteillage industriels. Fondé sur les sources documentaires archivistiques, il souligne l'importance de la science et du droit dans ce processus, et fait valoir que la centralisation doit être comprise en termes «d'accumulation primitive». L'article se concentre sur les sources d'eaux minérales chaudes, qui fournissent une fenêtre privilégiée sur la centralisation et l'accumulation primitive, mais sont largement ignorées dans l'historiographie de l'eau.

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Sacred Landscape, Healing Landscape

“Taking the Waters” in Tunka Valley, Russia

Katherine Metzo

This article examines the sacred mineral springs in Arshan, Buriatiia. These springs have been inscribed as sacred due to their medicinal properties and are marked as sacred through rituals and material offerings. Residents lament the loss of healing, and implicitly sacred, strength of Arshan. The author argues that the sense of loss is due to the medicalization of healing in Tsarist and Soviet times and from the commodification of this type of sacred site through bottling and tourism.

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Learning How To Fall

The Not So Secret Narratives of Matthew Sweeney

Michael Faherty

Matthew Sweeney wants to know what it feels like to be stranded on a rock off the coast of Donegal, unable to swim, and your mates, unable to save you, only watching and waiting as the tide slowly rises. He wants to know what it feels like to lie dying in a hospital bed, having drunk weedkiller because your wife was sleeping with your neighbour, and he wants to know what it feels like for her too, the neighbour also having drunk weedkiller to show her how harmless he thought it was. And he wants to know what it feels like to fall from the twentieth or thirtieth floor, having leapt for whatever reason. Fortunately, he has some friends with similar interests, including the American poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch, who has fondly recorded one evening in County Clare, over lobsters and a bottle or two of Puligny-Montrachet, when Sweeney probed his professional knowledge of ‘death by misadventure’, particularly defenestration and other related tumbles from vast heights. It was Sweeney’s hope and prayer that death came calling before the concrete pavement did and Lynch did his best to reassure him with medical evidence that suggested the system pretty much shut down in such situations, only coming back to consciousness if there was anything left to come back to.

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Rudeness and Modernity

The Reception of American Tourists in Early Fifth-Republic France

Christopher Endy

Pierre Dumas had high hopes for the 1965 tourist season. At the very least, the French state secretary for tourism hoped to avoid the frustrations of the previous year, when the US and French press, and even French senators, accused the French of being rude to foreign guests. As warmer weather returned in April, Dumas traveled to the new Orly Airport outside Paris to launch his response. He greeted foreigners, mostly Americans, as they disembarked for stays in France. Young women dressed in the white gloves and modern pink dresses of official Hôtesses de France stood beside him, handing out free roses and perfume bottles. Dumas himself distributed booklets of “smile checks” (chèques-sourire), which the government had printed for its new “National Campaign for Reception and Friendliness.” When tourists felt they received particularly good service in a hotel, restaurant, or elsewhere, they were to tear out one of their ten smile checks, inscribe the name and institution of the friendly employee, and then mail it, no postage required, to the government’s tourist office. At the end of the season, the government would award the ten most-honored French workers with vacation trips of their own to Tahiti, the Antilles or New York City.

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Germany's Green Energy Revolution: Challenging the Theory and Practice of Institutional Change

Carol Hager

The energy revolution poses a fundamental challenge to the German corporatist institutional model. The push for renewables in Germany arose almost entirely outside the prevailing channels of institutional power. Eventually, federal legislation helped support the boom in local energy production that was already underway, and it encouraged the further development of new forms of community investment and citizen participation in energy supply. Recently, the federal government has tried to put the genie back in the bottle by shifting support to large energy producers. But, as this article shows, the energy transition has provided a base for local power that cannot easily be assailed. The debate over German energy policy is becoming a contest between centralized and decentralized models of political and economic power. Prevailing institutionalist theories have difficulty accounting for these developments. I analyze the local development of renewable energy by means of a case study of the Freiburg area in southwestern Germany, which has evolved from a planned nuclear power and fossil fuel center to Germany's “solar region”. Incorporating insights from ecological modernization theory, I show how the locally based push for renewables has grown into a challenge to the direction of German democracy itself.

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Bodies with Objects in Space through Screens

Casual Virtuality and the Self-Mediation of Laura Paolini's Constraining Aesthetics

Jakub Zdebik

Bed (2020) is a performance involving hot water bottles as stepping stones in a “floor is lava”-type of game staged in a gallery in front of an audience; Documentation Study (2020) refocuses the artist's performance in a makeshift display space

Open access

Writing as Living On

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Jessica Mookherjee

entails, to continuously return to people and place in writing. Yousif M. Qasmiyeh Creative Encounters Editor Selections from Desire Lines Risk Ways Filch the filth in N7, derelict Irishman, bottles of Guinness, seventies carpets. Hides out

Free access

Editors’ Note

Slouching toward Armageddon

generally somewhat subdued and not as visible as many of the other issues. In the past two decades, however, that genie has burst out of the bottle. Since the collapse of the peace talks in the summer of 2000, the suicide attacks of the Second Intifada, and

Open access

Committee as Witness

Ethics Review as a Technology of Collective Attestation

Rachel Douglas-Jones

. Collective vision A plastic water bottle was the device used to introduce me to how a committee sees. I encountered this water bottle at Thammasat University, Bangkok, on a hot April day in 2010. Through the lunch break of a training course, over piles of

Open access

Are Inexpensive Solutions Affordable?

Bio-Sand Water Filters and Improved Wood Stoves in San Miguel Totonicapán

Matthew Krystal

filters and stoves. Here people are more likely to have cash and to purchase bottled water (typically delivered to the home in reusable five-gallon jugs known as garrafones ). As such, we theorised that more families would be interested in technologies as