Project properties

Title Disputed hydrosocial territories and flooding hazards in Guatemala: largescale mining, indigenous communities and citizen alliances
Group Water Resources Management group
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Prof. Rutgerd Boelens & Dr. Jeroen Vos
Contact info
Begin date 2020/01/01
End date 2022/01/01
Description Host institute(s): Municipality of Quetzaltenango
Country: Guatemala
Period: open
Project type: Master thesis for 1 or 2 students

Problem context
In the Palajunoj valley near Quetzaltenango city, Guatemala, three large gravel mines cause major socio-environmental problems, such as deforestation and soil erosion, which generates large flooding hazards for the indigenous communities and urban neighbourhoods. Mines and official development reports deny the problem and blame �nature� and �climate�. Municipality officers and indigenous communities however point at the extractive industry. Rural protest has broadened into a rural-urban territorial alliance: rural mayors, NGOs, urban neighbourhoods. They ask for socio-environmental research to complement their technical findings.

Research Objective/Question
Investigate through academic and action-research:
* the socio-environmental problems and hydro-political relationships that trigger the mining-based floodings;
* the divergent discourses and ways in which the flooding hazards are framed by different actors;
* the consequences for rural communities and urban neighborhoods ;
* the multi-scalar strategies, organizations and responses that families (can) deploy to cope with floods.

What is expected from the student: Research with a grounded Political Ecology focus (preparation: course Political Ecology of Water / similar courses). Conceptual themes: extractivism, hydrosocial territories, power, politics, discourse analysis, governmentality, conflict analysis, identity politics; social mobilization
Used skills
Requirements course Political Ecology of Water / similar courses