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Publication

Exploring “the remote” and “the rural”: Open defecation and latrine use in Uttarakhand, India.

Abstract

Open defecation is a major global health problem. The number of open defecators in India dwarfs that of other states, and most live in rural places. Open defecation is often approached as a problem scaled at the site of the individual, who makes a choice not to build and/or use a toilet. Attempts to end rural open defecation by targeting individuals, like social marketing or behavior change approaches, often ignore the structural inequalities that shape rural residents’ everyday lives. Our study explores the question, “What is the role of remoteness in sustaining open defecation in rural India?” We deploy the concept of remoteness as an analytical tool that can capture everyday practices of open defecation as a function of physical and social distance. Using ethnographic methods, we interviewed and observed 70 participants in four villages in Uttarakhand, India over a three-month period in 2013. We find that remoteness in general, and its lived nuances, form a context for prevalent open defecation. Structural inequalities across space will need to be addressed to make latrine building and usage viable in remote places.

More information

Type
Journal Article
Author
O'Reilly K
Dhanju R
Goel A
Year of Publication
2017
Journal
World Development
Language
eng
ISSN Number
0305750X
DOI
10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.12.022
Alternate Journal
World Development
Publication Language
eng