Water is a quintessential component for life and for the development of societies. Water is also an irreplaceable and transient resource, which crosses political boundaries in the form of rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers. Due to its unique nature, governments tend to perceive and portray water as a national asset constituting an integral part of “the homeland”. Just like space, territory and society can be socially and politically constructed by a national elite to assert its power (Swyngedouw, 2007). This is also the case for the management of water resources. As a result, the construction of a large hydraulic infrastructure, such as for instance a major dam or a canal, can be surrounded by a rhetorical discourse that emphasises its contribution to a prosperous future and to the realisation of national goals while nurturing national development and progress. This process can thus overlap with the formation of a national identity to the extent that a dam comes to symbolize the nation (Menga, 2015).
The aim of this workshop is to further our understanding of the complex and often hidden connection between water and the nation building process, here defined as the set of policies aimed at creating a common national identity and a sense of patriotism and loyalty toward the state.
The workshop will be opened by a keynote from Prof Erik Swyngedouw, University of Manchester, titled “Not a Drop of Water...: State, Modernity and the Production of Nature in Spain, 1998-2010”.
Interested participants should send their abstracts (max 300 words) and a short bio (100 words) with contact details to the workshop organiser Dr Filippo Menga email@example.com by May 13, 2016. Authors will be notified of acceptance by May 31, 2016.
The organisation of this workshop is receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 654861.