Community Based Water Management in Rural Chile

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paper


Although Institutional Ethnography has clear emancipatory goals, it has not been applied to the area of participation in natural resource management. This contribution attempts to fill this gap by looking at community based water management in Chile through IE.
In Chile, Rural Sanitary Services (RSS) work as a partnership between the State and rural communities to provide drinking water and sanitation to rural areas. 'Rural Drinking Water Associations' (APRs) are responsible for the management and operation of the RSS. More than 1600 APRs have come together under a National Federation to create a law that protects them from private sanitary companies. After 14 years of negotiations the Federation agreed a Law on RSS, and is now advocating for changes in the Water Code, the main water legislation in Chile.

This presentation will share results from my PhD where I use IE to explore the ways in which the Federation is organised. Taking the standpoint of an APR located in the semi-arid north of Chile, I start from people’s personal work experiences and go beyond them, to understand the social and political processes involved in people’s everyday activities. There is a disjuncture between the way people manage water locally and some aspects of the legislation that have become problematic for the APR. I will explore the ways in which the local APR wants to be involved in the modifications of the Water Code by learning about how they do water management locally and how they relate to people working in the Federation.

My research will contribute to this Thematic Group both theoretically and empirically. I will share my experience of doing an IE in Chile in the context of community water management, critically considering how a very distinctive organisation gets involved in law making.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2018
EventXIX World Congress of Sociology: International Sociological Association - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 15 Jul 201821 Jul 2018


ConferenceXIX World Congress of Sociology
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