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Applying a ‘value landscapes approach’ to conflicts in water governance: the case of the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway

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Christopher Schulz, Julia Martin-Ortega, Antonio A.R. Ioris, Klaus Glenk

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Abstract

Values have been identified as important factors to estimate preferences within water governance and to assess the political legitimacy of water governance in a given time and location. The present study applies an interdisciplinary ‘value landscapes approach’ to water governance in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, using conflicts around the construction of the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway as a case study. Using material from interviews with major stakeholders in the region, the results demonstrate that supporters of the waterway hold similar ‘value landscapes’ around economic values of water, efficiency, order, and economic development, while opponents' ‘value landscapes’ centre on cultural and non-economic values of water, social justice, solidarity, conservation and tradition. This suggests that persistent conflicts around the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway are only an expression of much deeper value conflicts that are also relevant to other water governance issues. Moreover, values expressed through the planned construction of the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway disproportionately reflect values of powerful stakeholder groups such as the agribusiness sector, which significantly undermines its political legitimacy.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Economics
Volume138
Early online date25 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Brazil, Environmental values, Mato Grosso, Paraguay-Paraná Waterway, Political ecology, Value landscapes, Water governance

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