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Infrastructure, citizenship, water, Flint, non-profit sector


The urban infrastructure literature has explored how infrastructure is tied to the politics of citizenship: states’ use of infrastructure to include/exclude populations and marginalized populations’ use of infrastructure to claim fuller citizenship. Often, this literature focuses on the relationship between governments and city dwellers, neglecting the role of other actors, like NGOs and philanthropic organizations, that influence infrastructural citizenship. A hallmark of neoliberalism in the Global North has been the transfer of responsibilities from the state to the non-profit sector, increasing these organizations’ power to shape urban citizenship. This paper examines how non-profit organizations participate in the politics of infrastructural citizenship by analyzing their role in providing emergency water infrastructure following the Flint Water Crisis. This process has been contradictory: the actions of these organizations have served as a lifeline in the face of state-enacted infrastructural violence, but also incorporate new inequalities into the infrastructural citizenship of Flint residents.

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This article was published Open Access thanks to a transformative agreement between Milner Library and Taylor & Francis.


This article was published in Urban Geography, and is available here:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.