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Accueil > Publications > Dernières publications

Article (in French) by Romain Valadaud (PhD student, CEH) and Olivia Aubriot (CEH)

Published in Développement durable et territoires : Vol. 10, No.3 | December 2019 – Technical objects and the hydrocial cycle/Rural land tenure in the Mediterranean

Edited by Olivier Petit

Putting hydrosocial dialectics to the test. Deciphering the political dimension of technical irrigation objects used for irrigation in Nepal


The hydrosocial cycle is a key concept to overcome the nature / society dichotomy. This article seeks to clarify its analytical and operational scope through the study of a Nepalese irrigation system. The combination of a sociotechnical approach, based on the analysis of technical objects, and of a critical realist approach, underlining the importance of the relationship between structure and agency, helps to bring out the political dimensions of these objects. We therefore show how canals or plastic tubes are integral parts of the power play within irrigation associations and beyond. It is by analyzing the changes in their (practical and political) use that we understand their role in the reproduction of the clientelist social structure of rural Nepal.

Keywords : irrigation, Nepal, canals, hydrosocial cycle, power relations, participatory management, WUA
- Full text of the online article (in French)
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1. L’irrigation sous le regard du réalisme critique
1.1. Dialectiques hydrosociales
1.2. Le réalisme critique : articulation théorique entre structure et agency
2.La réalité hydrosociale de Sitaganj au sein du Sunsari Morang Irrigation System (Smis)
2.1. Le réseau hydraulique
2.2. Acteurs et institutions décisionnelles
2.3. Rapports de pouvoir dans la gouvernance locale
3. Les objets techniques dans le processus de structuration hydrosociale
3.1. Canaux et chenaux
3.2. Prises directes
3.3. Pratiques d’irrigation et propriétés émergentes de l’assemblage
3.4. Politisation de l’objet technique : la restructuration des relations de pouvoir au sein de la WUA ?