Racialization and Racism

Fluid kinship: Race, power, and the hydrosocial order of water flow along New Mexico’s acequias

In New Mexico, the marketization of water rights, urbanization, and the legacies of colonialism divide neighbors and pit them against one another over water. New Mexico’s acequias (community irrigation ditches) are organized by water flow, and the physical and interpersonal connections that enable it and are enabled by it. I examine the way that the social and material reality of water flow troubles deeply embedded racial and socioeconomic divisions by creating what I call fluid kinship: a social space that flows like an acequia, according to a topography of human relationships. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with acequia users in New Mexico, I elucidate how fluid kinship can reshape the terms of water conflict into unexpected configurations. By drawing attention to fluid kinship, I seek to elucidate the potentiality of the acequia as a counter-geography of relatedness and possible reconciliation.

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Volume 38 Issue 4

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