Рафаел Сегон, Миладина Монова
BETWEEN DOMESTICATION AND COMMODIFICATION: MINERAL WATER, INFRASTRUCTURES, AND TENSIONS IN THE HYDROSOCIAL CYCLE OF VELINGRAD (BULGARIA)
Raphaëlle Segond, Miladina Monova
In 1948, the town of Velingrad emerged from three villages with a long durée relationship to mineral water and its infrastructure (natural hot springs, public baths, public fountains, washhouses, but also pipes and catchments). Building on that heritage, the socialist regime succeeded in making the town a leading destination for balneotherapy and recreation. Inhabitants have been historically involved in the construction works and everyday adjustments, appropriations, and reparations. After socialism, mineral water became a highly coveted resource, especially for the spa industry. In this paper, we focus on post-socialist transformations and dialectics between domestication and commodification of water taking place along the pipes. We show how social intimacy between inhabitants and “their” water supply network can also unlock contest and daily mobilizations, in a struggle for access to a common but limited resource.
Keywords: Mineral water, infrastructures, hydrosocial cycle, public baths, domestication, commodification, Bulgaria.