Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Wisconsin / Milwaukee

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Sociology, University of Wisconsin / Madison
The Global Water Regime, National Water Policy, and Social Movements in Bolivia and South Africa

My research project will explore how what I call the current global water regime - a relatively coherent set of norms and rules about how water should be managed promoted by global institutions – operates. Specifically, it seeks to study the interrelations between the global water regime, national and local water policy, and social movement activity in the water sector, through the analysis of the cases of Bolivia and South Africa. In order to do that, my research will take the form of a multi-sited ethnography (complemented with semi-structured interviews and the analysis of printed materials) which will proceed in three stages of four months each starting in August 2007. The first stage will take me to Bolivia, where I will investigate the implementation of new water policies congruent with the global water regime by a government committed to neoliberal reforms, as well as the massive social movement protests that opposed these policies. The second stage will take place in South Africa. There, I will analyze how a government committed to the defense of the social and economic rights of its citizens also adopted neoliberal water policies, and how it attempts to make these seemingly contradictory sets of policy compatible. I will also explore the form and functioning of the significant degree of popular opposition to the new water policies in the country, even if they are less widespread than those in Bolivia. Finally, the last stage of my research will explore the inner workings of the global water regime itself. In this stage I will study the main actors in the global water regime, including international organizations, transnational corporations, and international NGOs. Due to the geographical dispersion of these actors, this phase will entail telephone and internet interviews, as well as in person meetings and attendance to conferences whenever possible.