Multiplying Possibilities: A Postdevelopment Approach to Hygiene and Sanitation

Kelly Dombroski

In water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) literature and interventions, it is common to class households with anything other than private toilets as without sanitation. This implies that the people who use forms of hygiene and sanitation relying on collective toilets and alternative strategies are somehow unhygienic. Yet residents of Xining (Qinghai Province, China) rely on hygiene assemblages that do not always include private toilets, but nonetheless still work to guard health for families with young children. In this paper, I develop a postdevelopment approach to hygiene and sanitation based on starting with the place-based hygiene realities already working to guard health in some way, then working to multiply possibilities for future sanitation and hygiene strategies. In this approach, contemporary and future realities may look quite different from those based on private toilets.

Suggested citation

Dombroski, K. 2015. Multiplying Possibilities: A postdevelopment approach to hygiene and sanitation in Northwest China. Asia Pacific Viewpoint 56(3), 321-334.