Postgraduate Paper Prize 2022 Announcement

The Carceral Geography Working Group is happy to announce the winner of the 2022 Postgraduate Paper Prize:

Bronte Alexander: “Intimate Geographies of Precarity; water infrastructure in Brazil’s humanitarian response.”

Bronte’s paper examines how Brazil’s WASH stations sit at the intersection of water infrastructure and military-humanitarian modes of migration management. Through a detailed analysis of the spaces and disciplinary practices of shower facilities for migrants, Bronte traces how the regulation of space and time in the shower block enacts Jasbir Puar’s notion of debility, rather than biopolitics, a governmentality that “will not let die,” rather than “making live.” The review panel was impressed with how the paper brought together critical geographical research on water infrastructure and containment in migration and border regimes. Congratulations, Bronte!


The recent increase in Venezuelan migrants and refugees to Brazil has prompted a military-humanitarian response coordinated by multiple government agencies and (inter)national organisations. This coordination effort sits under the umbrella of the Operation Welcome task force. Situated in the northern state of Roraima, bordering Venezuela, this article explores one particular site of humanitarian care, a set of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities located in the capital city of Boa Vista. I draw attention to the water infrastructure of the site, which is managed by local government and military personnel. This paper investigates the shower block, a space that serves over one thousand Venezuelan refugees and migrants who are living without shelter. Addressing the spatio-temporal features of this site reveals the practices of debilitating mobilities that aim to provide basic needs under the guise of humanitarian care, while simultaneously governing migrant (embodied) mobilities. I argue that the military-humanitarian approach to Venezuelan migration produces intimate geographies of precarity. The (often subtle) violent consequences of providing aid not only impacts migrant mobilities, but also the bodies and lives of those migrants, which reinforces their vulnerabilities and keeps them in a cyclical loop of exclusion.