Skip to main content

The Domestication of Water: Filtering Nature Through Technology

1 January 2005


This paper examines some of the key ways in which water is mediated by technology and human artifacts. I show how the modes in which we conceive and experience this vital fluid are affected deeply by the techniques and instruments we use to interact with it. I argue that a notion of the domestication of water enables us to better grasp our relations with the environment given that vast volumes of water are now neither completely natural nor artificial in the conventional senses of the terms. Instead, water is often filtered through an expansive technological network that not merely changes its flows and phenomenal forms but greatly alters or multiplies its meanings. As examples of this process, I investigate the practical engagement with water by the first Western philosopher; the construction of several large hydrological projects; efforts at river management in the aesthetic landscape; and the emergence of bottled water.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
Main File
18 Mar 2020
185 kB