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Instituto Universitário de Lisboa - ISCTE (2012)

Residents’ meanings and experiences about a reservoir and its surroundings : implications for water management

Matias, Nuno-Gonçalo Cerqueira Gonçalves Noceda

Titre : Residents’ meanings and experiences about a reservoir and its surroundings : implications for water management

Auteur : Matias, Nuno-Gonçalo Cerqueira Gonçalves Noceda

Université de soutenance : Instituto Universitário de Lisboa - ISCTE

Grade : Doctor of Sociology 2012

Résumé
An interpretative mixed methods study approach was developed to explore how catchment residents understand, experience and give meaning to a reservoir and its surroundings to assist water management. This approach involved collecting qualitative data after a quantitative phase to explain and expand on the quantitative data in more depth. By conceptualizing a reservoir and its surroundings as a social representation, the quantitative study empirically describes catchment residents’ representations using a word association task as a consultation tool. Correspondence analyses integrated the word associations into a limited number of comprehensive representational components of the social representation about the study area (i.e., “functional”, “aesthetic”, “nonconsumptive uses” of nature, and “restorative”) and illustrated how they are associated across the considered subgroups of residents. The qualitative study developed a constructivist grounded theory methodological approach. Individual semi-structured interviews were carried out to elaborate on the results discovered in the survey and to develop an in-depth understanding of residents’ meanings and underlying experiences about the reservoir and its surroundings. Results indicate that meanings can be grouped into two broad thematic categories : personal and social. The personal meanings coalesced around beauty, nature, escape and refuge, restoration, physical interaction and gendered practices. Social meanings were related to friends, family, stewardship needs and development. The integrative theme of ‘showcase of everyday life stories/memories’ was identified through the repeated narrative expressions of place experiences in creating enduring memories and nostalgia. The dissertation concludes by discussing how the study approach and findings may assist subsequent water management, and areas for further study are identified.

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