Privatizing Water and Articulating Indigeneity: The Chilean Water Reforms and the Atacameño People (Likan Antai)

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/323224
Title:
Privatizing Water and Articulating Indigeneity: The Chilean Water Reforms and the Atacameño People (Likan Antai)
Author:
Prieto, Manuel
Issue Date:
2014
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The Chilean Water Code of 1981 has been presented as a successful case of free-market water reforms. In the northern Atacama Desert, the Atacameño people have developed their indigeneity in the context of the forceful implementation of this radical free market system. This situation invites an examination of the connections between the Chilean state's free-market restructuring of water governance and the process through which indigenous groups claim their identity through water politics. This dissertation addresses the following questions: (Q1) Why and how have the Atacameño people claimed indigeneity within the context of the pro-market water reforms? (Q2) How have Atacameño identity and the water reforms been conceived, articulated, and reproduced in relation to each other? This question is broken down into sub-questions: (Q2a) How do pro-market water reforms and related conflicts inspire indigeneity and water practices among the Atacameños? and (Q2b) How do the articulation of indigeneity and water practices among the Atacameños, in turn, reshape the pro-market water reforms? During fieldwork it became clear that the water market was not as active as I expected and that Atacameños are not selling water rights, but buying them, leading to a third question: (Q3) Why are the Atacameños not selling their water rights to mining companies and urban water supply, despite the extremely high purchasing power of the former, and why have indigenous communities recently become the main buyers of water rights? In answering these questions, this dissertation explores how water management is not just about the management of the management of H20, but is also related to the production of new subjectivities. In the case of the Chilean Water Code of 1981, rather than being a threat to a certain genuine or fixed Atacameño tradition, community, or identity, it is seen as a key catalyst that has allowed a group of people to publically articulate a legitimate indigenous positionality upon particular historical sediments and political economic conditions. Here the Atacameños appear to be articulating their history with contemporary issues, knowledge, and multiple practices in relation to specific current claims about the control of water resources. This fact has questions the water reforms in terms that they were reshaped by the process of identity formation. Indeed, the Atacameños successfully mobilized their identity to partially reject the privatization process, thereby subverting the neoclassical expectations that, within a free market, water should flow toward its highest economic value uses. Finally, this dissertation shows how the Chilean model, rather than being a free market approach to water management that supposes the withdrawal of the state, relies heavily on the state's centralized actions. As such, this dissertation (1) questions the existence of a truly free water market for the allocation of water rights in the Atacameño area (2) highlights the role of the state as the main central and hierarchical source of water allocation for both mining and urban supply companies, and (3) argues that the implementation of the Water Code is another chapter in the history of the state's the internal colonialism of the Atacama Desert.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Chile; Identity; Indigeneity; Neoliberalism; Water Management; Geography; Atacama Desert
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Geography
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Bauer, Carl J.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titlePrivatizing Water and Articulating Indigeneity: The Chilean Water Reforms and the Atacameño People (Likan Antai)en_US
dc.creatorPrieto, Manuelen_US
dc.contributor.authorPrieto, Manuelen_US
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe Chilean Water Code of 1981 has been presented as a successful case of free-market water reforms. In the northern Atacama Desert, the Atacameño people have developed their indigeneity in the context of the forceful implementation of this radical free market system. This situation invites an examination of the connections between the Chilean state's free-market restructuring of water governance and the process through which indigenous groups claim their identity through water politics. This dissertation addresses the following questions: (Q1) Why and how have the Atacameño people claimed indigeneity within the context of the pro-market water reforms? (Q2) How have Atacameño identity and the water reforms been conceived, articulated, and reproduced in relation to each other? This question is broken down into sub-questions: (Q2a) How do pro-market water reforms and related conflicts inspire indigeneity and water practices among the Atacameños? and (Q2b) How do the articulation of indigeneity and water practices among the Atacameños, in turn, reshape the pro-market water reforms? During fieldwork it became clear that the water market was not as active as I expected and that Atacameños are not selling water rights, but buying them, leading to a third question: (Q3) Why are the Atacameños not selling their water rights to mining companies and urban water supply, despite the extremely high purchasing power of the former, and why have indigenous communities recently become the main buyers of water rights? In answering these questions, this dissertation explores how water management is not just about the management of the management of H20, but is also related to the production of new subjectivities. In the case of the Chilean Water Code of 1981, rather than being a threat to a certain genuine or fixed Atacameño tradition, community, or identity, it is seen as a key catalyst that has allowed a group of people to publically articulate a legitimate indigenous positionality upon particular historical sediments and political economic conditions. Here the Atacameños appear to be articulating their history with contemporary issues, knowledge, and multiple practices in relation to specific current claims about the control of water resources. This fact has questions the water reforms in terms that they were reshaped by the process of identity formation. Indeed, the Atacameños successfully mobilized their identity to partially reject the privatization process, thereby subverting the neoclassical expectations that, within a free market, water should flow toward its highest economic value uses. Finally, this dissertation shows how the Chilean model, rather than being a free market approach to water management that supposes the withdrawal of the state, relies heavily on the state's centralized actions. As such, this dissertation (1) questions the existence of a truly free water market for the allocation of water rights in the Atacameño area (2) highlights the role of the state as the main central and hierarchical source of water allocation for both mining and urban supply companies, and (3) argues that the implementation of the Water Code is another chapter in the history of the state's the internal colonialism of the Atacama Desert.en_US
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectChileen_US
dc.subjectIdentityen_US
dc.subjectIndigeneityen_US
dc.subjectNeoliberalismen_US
dc.subjectWater Managementen_US
dc.subjectGeographyen_US
dc.subjectAtacama Deserten_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGeographyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorBauer, Carl J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBauer, Carl J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMarston, Sallie A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLansing, Stephen J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRobbins, Paul F.en_US
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