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Title: Water politics in El Salvador : power, water and social change in poor communities of San José Villanueva
Author: Zepeda Castillo, Carlos S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 5736
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation explores how social power relations affect poor, vulnerable people’s access to clean and sustainable water in El Salvador. It does so using an in-depth case study of people living in seven socially deprived rural communities of San José Villanueva, province of La Libertad, southern El Salvador. Drawing on several strands of social and political theory, the research conceptualises ‘power’ along three axes: on local/global, material/ideational and structure/agency lines. Using El Salvador’s neoliberal transition as its sociohistorical backdrop, the research explores the power dynamics shown by water actor groups in positions of hegemony, counter-hegemony and social exclusion. The study shows how these water actors use strategies, tactics and actions along the three power axes. The thesis assembles empirical evidence from academic research; policy documents, media outlets and civil society sources; interviews with policy makers; and poor people’s narratives. The research argues that the current state of unequal power relations in water governance constitutes the main factor shaping poor people’s water access outcomes today. Five key knowledge contributions emerge from this enquiry. First, the thesis handles the concept of ‘power’ as a tool to enrich the traditionally depoliticised approaches regarding water access today in El Salvador. Second, the research builds an innovative conceptual synthesis on power, an ‘axes of power approach’. Third, the thesis provides new empirical evidence using an in-depth case study. Fourth, the study fills an existing gap in country-specific water politics knowledge. Finally, the research offers relevant knowledge in a key water governance period for El Salvador as policy-makers negotiate the country’s first General Water Law in its history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory