Seeing sanitation: a social scientific account of Christchurch’s post-quake sanitary infrastructure

Status: Current

Dates: 2011 - Start

Māori Relevant Content: No

Project Abstract

The purpose of the project is to observe infrastructure in post earthquake Christchurch, with a specific focus on the operations of the wastewater and water networks. It is an empirical study which seeks to further describe and understand the many facets of infrastructures, of large technical systems. Technical objects are traditionally not seen as of interest or relevance to the social sciences, however, in this project the analytical tools of sociology are adapted and re-configured to bring together understanding of the historical, political, technical and scientific, economic, organisational and even legal elements which interrelate and collectively build, contribute and form the vital functioning of such systems.The underlying theoretical focus which enables this focus is a re-casting of what constitutes a scientific approach, what the relation between theory and method is, and asks what it means to observe empirically. This approach rejects the social as purely human based and seeks to observe and seriously engage with the various technical aspects which play central participatory roles in the constitution of the urban environment.

Researchers - UC Staff

  • Terry Austrin: Associate Investigator; Language, Social and Political Sciences

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • Andrew Butler: Principal Investigator; University of Canterbury

Associated Groups

Subject Area: Disciplines