MANUFACTURING INSECURITY: POWER, WATER, WASTE, AND THE SILENCES OF SUSTAINABILITY AND SUFFERING IN NORTHWEST ALASKA
AuthorEichelberger, Laura Palen
AdvisorGreen, Linda B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoDissertation not available (per author's request)
AbstractWith its oil wealth and an environment of abundant rivers, lakes, and the largest coastline in the United States, Alaska is one of the last places one would expect to find water insecurity. Yet approximately one third of households in remote Alaska Native villages lack in-home piped water and suffer the health consequences of poor sanitation and inadequate treated water. This problem has become particularly acute in the wake of surging energy prices and a concomitant shift in policies that increasingly require demonstrated economic sustainability before funding will be allocated for village water and sanitation projects. In response to increasing costs of living and the failure of development projects to foster the conditions under which they would be able to provide for their needs, many Iñupiat assert the importance of traditional values, practices and values that from their view constitute a path out of insecurity and into self-sufficiency. These Iñupiat point to modern technology as the source of what they call the spoiling of their communities. In this dissertation, I explore the disjuncture between how the state and the Iñupiat signify historical and contemporary issues and solutions around water, energy, and development. I suggest that the unintended consequences of decades of interventions to improve Iñupiaq health and well-being have been manufactured insecurity that is exacerbated by weakened social networks of reciprocity (the Iñupiaq traditional value of sharing), and rendered invisible by sustainability policies. I argue that these multifaceted processes of domination and suffering are all part of what many Iñupiat describe spoiling. In other words, when the Iñupiat talk about being spoiled by technology, they are talking about the historical domination by the state over their social reproduction in ways that produce and exacerbate the insecurities characterizing daily life in these remote villages.
Degree ProgramGraduate College