Political Ecology is a theoretical inquiry into how nature, technology and society interact and change in a context of power and inequality. Water justice refers to distributional effects in terms of benefits, losses and risk as a result of water management and water infrastructure, or the lack of it.
In this seminar Philip Woodhouse and Anja Nygren will discuss cases of water justice in different contexts and from different perspectives. Phil’s research analyses critically water use and water infrastructure in development interventions and programmes for large land deals in Sub-Saharan Africa. He studies water justice from a commodity value systems perspective, discussing issues such as productivity, scale, investment and social contradictions in the political economy of agriculture. Anja Nygren’s research on urban flood governance in Mexico examines how the socially differentiated production of urban space contributes to people’s uneven exposure to environmental risks. She explores civic commitment and self-governance in the absence of organized social movements. This involves the ethnographic study of residents’ ambiguous negotiations and shifting contestations of prevailing flood-governance strategies. This encounter will seek connections between different approaches to study technology and development interactions and the value of political ecology therein.