Making Public in a Privatized World: The Struggle for Essential Services The Struggle for Essential Services

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How do we provide effective public services in a deeply neoliberal world? In the wake of the widespread failure of privatization efforts, societies in the Global South are increasingly seeking progressive ways of recreating the public sector. 

About making public in a privatized world: the struggle for essential services

Publication type

With contributors ranging from cutting-edge scholars to activists working in health, water and energy provision, and with case studies covering a broad spectrum of localities and actors – from public health activists in rural Guatemala, to waste pickers in India and decentralized solar electricity initiatives in Africa – Making Public in a Privatized World uncovers the radically different ways in which public services are being reshaped from the grassroots up.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: The Wonderful Worlds of Making Public - David A. McDonald

Section I: Engaging Communities and Workers

  • 2. Work of the Ants: Labour and Community Reinventing Public Water in Colombia - Madeleine Bélanger Dumontier, Susan Spronk and Adrian Murray
  • 3. Old Trash, New Ideas: Public Waste Management and Informal Reclaimers - Melanie Samson
  • 4. Ships Passing in the Dark? Reigniting Labour-Community Alliances for Public Services in South Africa - Dale T. McKinley
  • 5. Public Health for Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala: Monitoring from the Bottom Up - Walter Flores

Section II: Recognizing Quasi-Public Actors

  • 6. Electrified Publics and Informal Settlements in India - Bipasha Baruah
  • 7. Principles and Pitfalls: Searching for Public in ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation’ - Mary Galvin 8. Public Faith: Christian and Muslim Health Services in Uganda - Yoswa Dambisya, Mulalo Manenzhe and Allie Kibwika-Muyinda

Section III: Promoting Equity and Democratic Control

  • 9. Gender Equity, Citizenship and Public Water in Bangladesh - Farhana Sultana, Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Sarah Miraglia
  • 10. Struggling for Public, Reclaiming Citizenship: Everyday Practices of Access to Water in Medellín, Colombia - Marcela López
  • 11. Public Renewable Energy in Africa: The Potential for Democratic Electrification - Sandra van Niekerk

Section IV: Financing Public Services

  • 12. (Re)Making Public Banks: The Case of Turkey - Thomas Marois and Ali Riza Güngen
  • 13. Pragmatic Publics in the Heartland of Capitalism: Local services in the United States - Mildred E. Warner
  • 14. Post-Neoliberalism in Bolivia? Water Sector Reforms under Evo Morales - Susan Spronk


  • 15. Conclusion: Building a Global Pro-Public Movement - David A. McDonald

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