Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 109–121 | Cite as

Watered-down democratization: modernization versus social participation in water management in Northeast Brazil

Article

Abstract

This article examines social participation in water management in the Jaguaribe Valley, state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil. It argues that participatory approaches are heavily influenced by the general ideological and symbolic contexts in which they occur, that is, by how participants understand (or misunderstand) what is taking place, and associate specific meanings to things and events. An analysis of these symbolic factors at work sheds light on the potentialities of and limitations on participatory experiences not accounted for in usual structural analyses. In the particular case of Ceará, this article describes how the idea of modernization, which is so pervasive in the ways economic development is presented in Brazil, provides a frame against which other meanings are constructed. In water management arenas, the presentation of participation as an aspect of the general modernization of the state has reorganized meanings and delegitimized some forms of knowledge and economic activities to the detriment of others. As a result, the promotion of equality through participation lost a great deal of efficacy, and this state of affairs provided some degree of social validation for asymmetries in participatory decision making processes.

Keywords

Participation Water management Modernization Northeast Brazil Ceará 

References

  1. Abers, R.N., and M.E. Keck. 2006. Muddy waters: The political construction of deliberative river Basin Governance in Brazil. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30(3): 601–622.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abers, Rebecca Neaera, and Margarete E. Keck. 2007. Mobilizing the state: The erratic partner in Brazil′s Participatory Water Policy. Paper presented at the Environmental Politics Colloquium, University of California at Berkeley, December 7, 2007.Google Scholar
  3. Abu-El-Haj, Jawdat. 2002. Classe, poder e administração pública no Ceará. In A Era Jereissati: Modernidade e Mito, eds. Parente, Francisco Josênio C., and José Maria Arruda (orgs.). Fortaleza: Edições Demócrito Rocha.Google Scholar
  4. Agência Nacional de Águas. 2002. A Evolução da Gestão dos Recursos Hídricos no Brasil. Brasília: ANA.Google Scholar
  5. Barreira, C. 1992. Trilhas e Atalhos do Poder: Conflitos Sociais no Sertão. Rio de Janeiro: Rio Fundo Editora.Google Scholar
  6. Besteman, C. 1999. Unraveling Somalia: Race, violence and the legacy of slavery. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. 1989. Le pouvoir symbolique. Paris: Arthème Fayard.Google Scholar
  8. Broad, Kenneth, Alexander Pfaff, Renzo Taddei, A. Sankarasubramanian, Upmanu Lall, and Franciso de Assis de Souza Filho. 2007. Climate, stream flow prediction and water management in northeast Brazil: Societal trends and forecast value. Climatic Change 84:217–239.Google Scholar
  9. Cavalcante, P. 2003. Como se fabrica um pistoleiro. São Paulo: A Girafa Editora.Google Scholar
  10. Cleaver, Frances. 2001. Institutions, agency and the limitations of the participatory approaches to development. In Participation: The new tyranny? eds. Bill Cooke, and Uma Kothari, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  11. Cooke, Bill, and Uma Kothari. 2001. The case for participation as tyranny. In Participation: The New Tyranny? eds. Bill Cooke, and Uma Kothari, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  12. Costa, Alberto C.G., Conrad P. Kottak, and Rosane M. Prado. 1997. The sociopolitical context of participatory development in Northeastern Brazil. Human Organization, Vol. 56, No. 2, 1997.Google Scholar
  13. Cunha, Euclides da. 2002 [1902]. Os Sertões. São Paulo: Martin Claret.Google Scholar
  14. Dean, M. 1999. Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Dinar, Ariel, Karin Kemper, William Blomquist, Michele Diez, Gisele Sine, and William Fru. 2005. Decentralization of river basin management: a Global analysis. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, No. 3637, June 2005, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  16. Evaluation Gap Working Group. 2006. When will we ever learn: Improving lives through impact evaluation. Washington, DC: Center for Global Development.Google Scholar
  17. Faoro, R. 1984. Os donos do poder: formação do patronato politico brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Globo.Google Scholar
  18. Ferguson, J. 1990. The anti-politics machine: “Development”, depoliticization and bureaucratic power in Lesotho. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Formiga Johnsson, Rosa Maria, and Karin Erika Kemper. 2005. Institutional and policy analysis of river basin management—the Jaguaribe River Basin, Ceará, Brazil. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, No. 3649, June 2005, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  20. Formiga Johnsson, Rosa Maria, and Paula Duarte Lopes. (eds.). 2003. Projeto Marca d′Água: Seguindo as Mudanças na Gestão das Bacias Hidrográficas do Brasil: Caderno 1: Retratos 3X 4 Das Bacias Pesquisadas. Brasília: FINATEC.Google Scholar
  21. Foucault, M. 1991. Governmentality. In The foucault effect: Studies in governmentality, ed. G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  22. Gal, S. 1998. Multiplicity and contention among language ideologies. In Language ideologies: Practice and theory, ed. B.B. Schieffelin, K.A. Woolard, and P.V. Kroskrity. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Garjulli, Rosana João Lúcio Farias de Oliveira, Marcos André Lima da Cunha, Edcarlos Rulim de Souza, and Marcelo Theófilo Folhes. 2002. Projeto Marca D’Água, Relatórios Preliminares. A Bacia do Rio Jaguaribe, Ceará—2001. Brasília: Núcleo de Pesquisa em Políticas Públicas/Projeto Marca D’Água.Google Scholar
  24. Gutiérrez, Ricardo A. 2006. Participatory Water Policy in Ceará, Brazil: Approaches and Political Viability. Proceedings of the XI Congreso Internacional Del CLAD/Centro Latinoamericano de Administración para el Desarrollo: Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, 7–10 November 2006.Google Scholar
  25. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE). 2006. Síntese de Indicadores Sociais 2005. Rio de Janeiro: IBGE.Google Scholar
  26. Institutos de Pesquisas e Estratégia Econômica do Ceará (IPECE). 2005. Ceará em Números 2005. Fortaleza: IPECE.Google Scholar
  27. Kemper, Karin, Ariel Dinar, and William Blomquist. 2005. Institutional and policy analysis of river basin decentralization. The principle of managing water resources at the lowest appropriate level—when and why does it (not) work in practice? Washington, DC: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  28. Kenny, Mary Lorena. 2002. Drought, clientalism, fatalism and fear in Northeast Brazil. Ethics, place and environment, Vol. 5, No. 2, 123–134.Google Scholar
  29. Kothari, Uma. 2001. Power, knowledge and social control in participatory development. In Participation: The new tyranny? eds. Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  30. Lemenhe, M.A. 1995. Família, Tradição e Poder: O(caso) dos Coronéis. São Paulo: Annablume/Edições UFC.Google Scholar
  31. Lemos, Maria Carmen, and João Lúcio Farias de Oliveira. 2004. Can water reform survive politics? Institutional change and River Basin Management in Ceará, Brazil. World Development 32(12):2121–2137.Google Scholar
  32. Lemos, Maria Carmen, and Lisa Dilling. 2007. Equity in forecasting climate: Can science save the world’s poor? Science and Public Policy 34(2): 109–116.Google Scholar
  33. Lipton, M. 1977. Why poor people stay poor: Urban bias in world development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Martins, José de Souza. 1999. O Poder do Atraso: Ensaios de Sociologia da História Lenta. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec.Google Scholar
  35. Mesquita, Erle Cavalcante. 2007. Participação, atores políticos e transformação institucional no Ceará. In A participação social no Nordeste, ed. Avitzer, Leonardo (org.), Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG.Google Scholar
  36. Mohan, Giles. 2001. Beyond Participation: Strategies for Deeper Empowerment. In Participation: The new tyranny? eds. Bill Cooke, and Uma Kothari, London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  37. Ortner, S.B. 1973. On key symbols. American Anthropologist 75: 1338–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peterson, Nicole, Kenneth Broad, Ben Orlove, Carla Roncoli, Renzo Taddei, and Maria Alejandra Velez. Forthcoming. Participatory processes and climate forecast use: Sociocultural context, discussion, and consensus. Climate and Development.Google Scholar
  39. Tacoli, Cecilia. 1998. Rural-urban interactions: A guide to the literature. Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 10, No. 1, April 1998, 147–166.Google Scholar
  40. Taddei, Renzo. 2004. Os usos da lei e a vida social da legislação hídrica. Notas e reflexões sobre o caso do Ceará. Teoria e Pesquisa, No. 45, Ago.-Dez. 2004.Google Scholar
  41. Taddei, Renzo. 2005. Of clouds and streams, prophets and profits: The political semiotics of climate and water in the Brazilian Northeast. PhD dissertation, School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, New York, 2005.Google Scholar
  42. Taddei, Renzo, and Ana Laura Gamboggi. 2009. Gender and the semiotics of political visibility in the Brazilian northeast. Social Semiotics, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2009, 149–164.Google Scholar
  43. Tendler, J. 1997. Good government in the tropics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  44. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2006. Human Development Report 2006. Beyond scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  45. Wolf, E.R., and E.C. Hansen. 1972. The human condition in Latin America. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. World Bank. 1996. World bank participation sourcebook. Washington: The World Bank.Google Scholar
  47. World Bank. 2000. Brazil poverty reduction, growth, and fiscal stability in the State of Ceara. A State Economic Memorandum. Vol 1. Report No. 19217-BR, August 21, 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of CommunicationFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

Personalised recommendations