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Norwegian University of Science and Technology (2008)

Droughts, Morality, State Politics and the Brazilian Semiarid Landscape : A Study of the São Francisco River Integration Project

Bjørgum, Claudia Pastor Almeida Soares

Titre : Droughts, Morality, State Politics and the Brazilian Semiarid Landscape : A Study of the São Francisco River Integration Project

Auteur : Bjørgum, Claudia Pastor Almeida Soares

Université de soutenance : Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Department of Geography

Grade MPhil in Development Studies, specializing in Geography 2008

Résumé
The poorest region of Brazil, the Northeast is prone to devastating multi-annual droughts, an inherent part of its geography. The Brazilian state attributes the poverty of the Northeast to the semiarid landscape and a supposed water deficit. The state defends a water diversion project on the biggest river of the region that is rejected by the local population and civil society organizations, as a definitive solution for the water deficit of a section of the semiarid landscape. Based on a large volume of secondary data, primary data collected through open interviews with key informant and participant observation in sections of the semiarid landscape in the state of Ceará, this thesis argues that the problem of the Northeast is not water deficit. Some of the poorest areas of Brazil, in both Northeast and North regions, are abundant in water resources. Droughts have been used as an excuse to intervene in the landscape while drought oriented policies have for a long time divided and sub-divided the region, contributing to the alienation of other structural problems. Poverty and inequality are the most serious problems of the Northeast, inside and outside the limits of the semiarid landscape, just like in the other four regions of Brazil. The São Francisco river integration project (SFIP) reproduces the drought combat discourse and hide the economical intentions of the project. Surrounded by contradictions and certain disregard for Brazil’s Constitution the governmental project benefits from the alienation of the other regions of the Northeastern reality and of the indifference of the National Congress to the conflict. The SFIP analyzed as an example of the historical relationship of interdependence between the central government and the local elite.

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Page publiée le 29 mars 2010, mise à jour le 11 février 2018