Living Rivers and the New Water Justice Movements: From Dominating Waterscapes to the Rights of Nature

    Project: EU research project

    Project Details


    RIVERHOOD will study, conceptualize and support evolving water justice movements that struggle for enlivening rivers. Notwithstanding rivers’ fundamental importance for social and natural well-being, around the world, mega-damming, pollution, and multiple forms of domesticating are putting riverine systems under great stress. Expert ontologies and epistemologies have become cornerstones of powerful hydraulic-bureaucratic administrations (‘hydrocracies’). Recently, worldwide, a large variety of ‘new water justice movements’ (NWJMs) have proliferated. These are rooted, transdisciplinary, multi-actor and multi-scalar coalitions. They deploy alternative river-society ontologies and practices, challenging hydrocracies’ paradigms to foster environmental justice. They translate global notions into local ones and vice versa. New, exciting strategies range from organizing river-health clinics, dam removal, socio-ecological flow projects, to mobilizing New Water Culture and Rights of Nature notions. European NWJMs co-learn with peers in Ecuador and Colombia were rivers are legal and political subjects. NWJMs hold immense potential for contributing to a radically new, equitable and nature-rooted water governance, but are undertheorized, largely unnoticed by natural and social sciences, and excluded from policy-making. Science and policies lack approaches to engage with rivers as arenas of co-production among humans and nature. RIVERHOOD will develop a new analytical framework to study NWJMs and ‘riverhoods’. Socio-natural river complexes will be approached from 3 interrelated ontologies: ‘river-as-territory’; ‘river-as-subject’; and ‘river-as-movement’. Through 4 cross-cultural PhD studies, 8 cases in Ecuador, Colombia, Spain and the Netherlands are investigated. At each site ‘Environmental Justice Labs’ will be organized: a novel approach to comprehend pluriversal water worlds and foster knowledge co-creation and democratization: bottom-up, dialoguing and transdisciplinary.”
    Effective start/end date1/07/2130/06/26


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