Making the body local
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Making the body local book
This chapter traces the ways in which people in Surbiton, London, commit to local politics in an effort to prevent developers from building on a disused water filtration bed, which had played a vital part in providing London with clean water amidst the cholera epidemics of the 1800s. Today, the site is a source of local pride, yet the stresses and strains involved in community organising and campaigning caused health issues to develop around unruly ‘shit.’ The stress that, as one man explained, manifested deep ‘in my guts’ reflects the deep link between the body and the city in a binding dialectic. The tension of this dialectic is maintained through the investments of local people who wish to be active and responsible ‘local’ citizens. The chapter argues that the forms of ill health shown here are symptomatic of the demand made upon the modern subject who is responsible for the form the city takes, yet simultaneously wields little influence in its formation. This demand is not simply incidental, rather it is the constative aspect of being a good local citizen.