Governmentalities, hydrosocial territories & recognition politics: The making of objects and subjects for climate change adaptation in Ecuador

Megan Mills-Novoa*, Rutgerd Boelens, Jaime Hoogesteger, Jeroen Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adaptation to climate change has become a major policy and project focus for donors and governments globally. In this article, we provide insight into how adaptation projects mobilize distinct imaginaries and knowledge claims that create territories for intervention (the objects) as well as targeted populations (the subjects) to sustain them. Drawing on two emblematic climate change adaptation projects in Ecuador, we show how these objects and subjects are created through a knowledge production process that (a) creates a discursive climate change rationale; (b) sidesteps uncertainty related to climate change impacts; (c) fosters a circular citational practice that (self-)reinforces the project's expert knowledge; and (d) makes complex social variables commensurable based on the project's rationality, interests, and quantifiable indicators. The emerging hydrosocial territories ‘in need of intervention’ require subjects that inhabit, produce and reproduce these territories, in accordance with specific climate change discourses and practices. To manufacture and align these subjects, projects employ participatory practices that are informed by recognition politics aimed at disciplining participants toward particular identities and ways of thinking and acting. We analyze these distinct strategies as multiple governmentalities enacted through participatory adaptation projects seeking to produce specific climate change resilient hydrosocial territories and corresponding subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-101
Number of pages12
JournalGeoforum
Volume115
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Ecuador
  • Governmentality
  • Hydrosocial territories
  • Participation
  • Recognition politics

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