Troubled waters : a political ecology of water scarcity in rural Colombia
- Colombia has had a long, sordid history of conflicts over natural resource management, particularly among its Afro and indigenous populations in rural areas. Privatization of and development along major water sources continue to threaten communities' equitable access. Moreover, climate change is rapidly altering landscapes and water availability, putting more stress on both social and natural systems, further complicating how communities respond to these changes. While many studies focus on black communities in the Pacific region and Indigenous groups throughout other areas of Colombia, there is little attention given to black groups in the Caribbean, especially as it relates to social mobilization. This doctoral research addresses this gap by examining the ways in which Afro-indigenous communities, in two rural Caribbean villages of Colombia, mobilize amid several water development projects. When confronted with extreme water scarcity during a drought, the national government proposed projects to increase water services, but instead they became key sites of cultural and political contention. Throughout each chapter, I focus on the dynamics between community members, government officials, and private companies at two water sites—a marsh and municipal water plant. The goal is to identify how different members within these communities respond to environmental and development challenges through ethnocultural (identity) projects. This work contributes to broader understandings of identity, social movements, and environmental politics, which are particularly critical during times of rapid climate change. This study yields three primary findings. The first reveals that the water infrastructure projects were creating divisions within communities across different groups and further contributing to water inequity. This was largely a result of continued practices based on racially exclusive legislation and inefficient land tenure policies. The second finding identifies three social mobilization strategies employed by communities to resist their exclusion: 1) community-level engagements, 2) multi-level engagements, and 3) impromptu gatherings or protests. The final finding suggests that members who engage in community-level mobilizing, specifically around ethnocultural (Afro-indigenous) traditions were able to make a case for their inclusion in future development projects.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Jordan, Elana Victoria
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, Department of Anthropology.
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Anthropology.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2018.
- © 2018 by Elana Victoria Jordan
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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