Publication Details

Waitt, G. & Welland, L. (2017). Water, skin and touch: migrant bathing assemblages. Social and Cultural Geography, 20 (1), 24-42.


This paper offers a contribution to cultures of urban water research through household ethnographies conducted with 16 participants who migrated from Burma to Sydney, Australia. We draw on a strand of corporeal feminism and offer the concept of bathing assemblages to interpret how watery skin encounters provide clues to how participants washed themselves in their 'home' country may persist, transform or stop. Our analysis maps how dimensions of the self (ethical, gender, class, ethnic, national faith and others) are constituted by, and generative of, the felt intensities of watery encounters through different bathing assemblages. This paper illustrates how bathing practices are shaped as much by emotional and affective intensities as by reasoned activity. We show the utility of corporeal feminism not only for theorising subjectivity, but also for household sustainability politics.

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