Fabricating Irrigators: Contested Hydrosocial Territories and Subject-Making in Spain’s Tagus–Segura Interbasin Transfer Arena

Nicholas Bourguignon, Sergio Villamayor-Tomás, Rutgerd Boelens

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Resum

This article explores how irrigation farmer (regante) subjectivities are constructed in direct conjunction with the production of modernist–capitalist hydrosocial territories across the Tagus and Segura river basins in central and south-east Spain. We explore the complexities and contradictions of how, at various scales of governance, authorities establish and seek to realize ideal regante subjects across time and space. We mobilize a hydrosocial territory approach, combined with feminist political ecology and hegemony literature, to explore how such ideal subjects are built through Spanish and regional legislation and policies from 1866 to 2023. Through interviews with regantes in six irrigation communities, we identify different ideal and actual regante subjects in territories interconnected by the Tagus–Segura Aqueduct. We analyze how policy shifts lead to multiple and contradictory roles and responsibilities for regante subjects, which are linked to plot modernization, agricultural professionalization, and farmer rejuvenation. These sharpen divisions between smallholders and emerging large capitalist actors. Counterhegemonic territorial proposals resist these pressures by embodying alternative values and imaginaries. We conclude that through such counterhegemonic struggles, subject construction is enriched, identifying real-life existing and future alternatives for more just hydrosocial territories.
Idioma originalEnglish
Número d’article192
Nombre de pàgines21
RevistaWater
Volum16
Número2
DOIs
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 5 de gen. 2024

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