The department is a lively community that is recognised internationally as one of the top centres for research and teaching in development studies.
The political economy of water in the Andean region
I am exploring the political struggle over the construction of a new water regime in Ecuador, which started during the presidency of Rafael Correa. The conflict is particularly interesting as it is rooted in efforts to increase state control of water and therefore differs to earlier struggles based on the privatization of water services. Focusing on community water management, I am investigating the political roots of the struggle and the potential of the new regime to promote the sustainable and equitable distribution of water and incorporate alternative values of the substance. I have conducted four fieldwork trips in Ecuador since 2015. During this period, I have interviewed representatives of community water associations, local governments, state agencies, social movements and public water companies. I have also collated legal documentation related to the new water regime and articles from national and local newspaper archives. I am currently planning to expand the geographic boundaries of this research and integrate Ecuador into a comparative case study with Colombia and Peru.