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Assessing the Democratic Effects of Groundwater User Associations in Mexico: The Case of Guanajuato

Gomez Gonzalez Cosio, R; (2015) Assessing the Democratic Effects of Groundwater User Associations in Mexico: The Case of Guanajuato. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The Mexican water polity underwent a deep process of Neo-liberal Statetransformation, oriented at modifying the relationship between the State and society and through the implementation of a range of State-strategies. These Statestrategies produced a number of drawback and contradictions. One of such strategies was the establishment and institutional development of multi-stakeholder platforms for groundwater resources management (MSPs), a form of socio-political governance arrangement allegedly created to enable a more democratic social participation and stakeholder cooperation throughout the water resources management process. As a result of a ‘critical juncture’ two models of MSPs were established, one supported by the central-State and another by the state-level authorities in the state of Guanajuato. They had important differences in that the latter represented a more serious attempt to truly enable a socio-political governance arrangement. Today, regardless of the initiative, these MSPs remain extremely weak and their contribution to a more participatory, cooperative and democratic groundwater governance is very limited. The central hypothesis of the thesis is that the principle factor –the culprit– behind these drawbacks and limitations is the State, but that still the MSPs for groundwater governance have generated some form of ‘countervailing power’ –an opportunity inherent to these governance arrangements–that supports some small, but important democratic effects. Through the integration of a ‘heuristic-analytical’ device supported by various theoretical developments –including governance and democratic studies, but mainly underpinned by a Historical Institutionalist approach–, this thesis analyses different critical aspects of this phenomenon. Accordingly, this device is structured in six different moments of analysis that focus on different aspects of the process of Neoliberal State transformation and the institutional development of the MSPs. The device ultimately seeks to develop and understanding of the prospects and challenges of the MSPs, assess their democratic performance, and investigate the role of the State in the process –including the reasons or factors that determine this role.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Assessing the Democratic Effects of Groundwater User Associations in Mexico: The Case of Guanajuato
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463319
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