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F.N. (Fenna) Smits MSc

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
Photographer: Ayda Abdan Kondori

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Postal address
  • Postbus 15509
    1001 NA Amsterdam
  • Research

    I am a post-doctoral researcher within the NWO-funded project ‘Clean : an inquiry into co-existing values-in-tension’, led by Annemarie Mol. The research explores how different versions of the ‘good’ clean are being served (or not) by households and water authorities in the Netherlands. I focus on cleaning wastewater and trace what becomes of (waste)water when it moves from households through a sewage and wastewater treatment infrastructure and flows out into rivers and oceans.

    In my PhD research, based on ethnographic fieldwork in the Netherlands, I traced how decentralisation of public health and environmental protection infrastructures occurs in practice. My research demonstrates that decentralisation of infrastructure does not cause to emerge the ‘autonomous’ individuals (neoliberal)policymakers envision. Rather it creates new entanglements and dependencies, not only amongst people, but also amongst people and pipes, buildings, surface waters, bacteria, technology, reed beds, and soil. In my dissertation, I attend to how these relations are differently configured, cared for, and governed in infrastructural practices. By questioning which relationships are formed and whose worlds are created and maintained, I advance theoretical perspectives on the politics that infrastructure itself enacts.

  • Teaching

    2018 - 2020

    • Tutorials for sociology bachelor course Globalizing Cultures 
    • Departmental Internship Supervison


    • Tutorials for honours course STEVF – urban regeneration and renewal in film.
  • Publications


    • Ibanez Martin, R., & Smits, F. N. (2023). The material politics of living in close proximity to our wastewaters: A case of decentralisation in the Netherlands. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space., 6(3), 1767-1784. Advance online publication.
    • Smits, F. N. (2023). Whose infrastructure, which commons? On the maintenance of an emergent health commons in the Netherlands. Social & Cultural Geography. Advance online publication.
    • Smits, F., & de Wilde, M. (2023). ‘We are Part of Nature’: Caring for Wastewater in an Infrastructural Experiment in the Flevopolder. Ethnos. Advance online publication.




    • Smits, F. N. (2023). Infrastructuring common worlds: How decentralisation of public health and environmental protection infrastructures occurs in practice. [Thesis, fully internal, Universiteit van Amsterdam]. [details]
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities