Like water for justice
Joshi, D. - \ 2015
Geoforum 61 (2015). - ISSN 0016-7185 - p. 111 - 121.
environmental justice - management - himalaya - politics - south
The narrative of environmental justice is powerfully and passionately advocated by researchers, practitioners and activists across scale and space. Yet, because these struggles are multifaceted and pluralistic, rooted in complex, evolving “socio-material-political interminglings” the concept is difficult to grasp, and even harder to realise. Recent literature raises concerns as to what makes for environmental injustices, how injustices are defined, classified as urgent and/or critical, by whom and why, how they gain political attention, etc. This paper draws attention to these issues by contrasting the largely untold, nonetheless entrenched and enduring “old” water supply injustices in the Darjeeling region of the Eastern Himalaya in India with articulate contestations relating to the speedy advancement of “new” hydropower projects here. Water supply problems in the Darjeeling region are particularly wicked – nested in fractious ethnicity–identity political conflicts. These complex local realities tend to obscure the everyday challenges relating to water as well as render these problems spatially anecdotal. What happens – or does not – around water here is certainly unique, yet comparison to other struggles in other settings show that locational and environmental politics provide critical evidence to question the several implicit universalisms in relation to water justice.
Justice in development? An analysis of water interventions in the rural South
Venot, J.P.J.N. ; Clement, F. - \ 2013
Natural Resources Forum 37 (2013)1. - ISSN 0165-0203 - p. 19 - 30.
environmental justice - poverty - india - institutions - government - capitals - panaceas
This paper explores a fruitful convergence between the distributive and procedural dimensions of environmental justice theory and current debates in the field of development studies over capitals and capabilities, institutions, and discourse formation to shed new light on natural resource management projects in the developing world. Specifically, we document the planning and implementation of two types of water interventions in two contrasting regions: watershed development programmes in northeast India and small reservoirs in sub-Saharan West Africa. We find that there is a contradiction between the inherently political nature of water interventions and the fact that such projects remain grounded in apolitical, technical and managerial narratives. In contrast to the new semantic of development, this depoliticization results in the near absence of attention paid to procedural (participation and empowerment) and distributive (equity) justice concerns and in local actors having to revert to covert ways to achieve their ends. A constructive dialogue between development studies and environmental justice scholars can offer a fresh look on the society-environment nexus in the developing world