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Roskilde University Denmark (2012)

Access to water in Bolivia Conflicts and corporation amongst women in Calizaya and Chilcani

Rasmussen Julie Marie

Titre : Access to water in Bolivia Conflicts and corporation amongst women in Calizaya and Chilcani

Auteur : Rasmussen Julie Marie

Université de soutenance : Roskilde University Denmark

Grade : Master Thesis 2012

This thesis explores how local competition for water is enacted among women in Calizaya and Chilcani, two Andean communities in Bolivia. In order to investigate how women access scarce water resources on an everyday level, this thesis adopts ethnographic methods and the understanding of access as the ability to derive benefits from things. Furthermore, this thesis put forward the notion that power is present in structural relationships that can be shaped or reproduced by the actors in the field. The everyday practice of accessing scarce water resources is analyzed on two interrelated levels.
The first part of the analysis explores how women are positioned within the field in which their struggle for water is played out. Within the two communities Andean cosmology is based on a paradigm of gender complementarity between men and women and has been used to influence the traditional gender patterns such as division of labour and decision-making within the communities. This cosmology, however, is challenged by male migration that leaves open a still increasing room for women’s possibilities to affect decision-making on a community level. Women’s room for manoeuvring in official forums contest the traditional power relations between genders as well as between women.
The second level of analysis explores how competing strategies for water are played out between women on an everyday basis in explicit and subtle struggles for scarce water resources. The way women access water is determined by their individual strategies and possibilities to make use of different access mechanisms and the sum of capitals i.e. their power that allows them to gain, maintain and control access to water. The analysis will show that authority, illicit use, collaboration, direct conflict as well as the use of formal and informal rules and customs allow women to access water differently. These actions put forward the notion that women in Calizaya and Chilcani are not passive observers of traditional structures, but are instead actively contributing to shape existing rules and customs to suit their needs for water.

Présentation (Danida Research Portal)

Page publiée le 31 août 2016, mise à jour le 1er mars 2020