Show simple item record

dc.creatorCabaña, Gabriela
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the relationship between bureaucracy and the unprecedented anthropogenic environmental change in what has been discussed as the Anthropocene. For this I take the case study of Chile’s Water Code implemented in 1981 in the context of larger neoliberal reforms under Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-1990). In the first section I describe the key features of that process and how it departed from more embedded understandings of what water is. Then I take ethnographic and other evidence on water conflicts in Chile since the return of democracy to show how the bureaucratic language has shaped both exploitation and resistance, despite conflicts have usually been framed by scholars as ‘neoliberal’. I focus mainly on how indigenous people have managed the gaps and exceptions created by law to use bureaucratic mechanisms in their favour, with partial success. In the second section, first I turn to two points on the role of bureaucracy in the emergence of markets and in the power of the state. Following Weszkalnys, Mitchell and Bear I describe how the Water Code has created a distinction between the administrative “neutral” managing of water and politics as a space of deliberation. Particularly, I argue that bureaucratic management of water is a key feature of speculative planning as an opaque form of state action. Secondly, I explore the work of bureaucracy as the imposition of the power of the state through violence, inflicted both to humans and ecosystems, while it remains hidden as inevitable. This violence is imposed when actors try to transform water from its socio- environmental value to monetary value. Here I base my analysis mainly on Weber and Graeber’s insights on bureaucracy and its tense relation with democracy; as well as the politics of value struggles. I also relate the enforcement of bureaucracy with the idea of “virtual water” (Barns) as a way of showing the particular failures of the bureaucratic project when targeting water. I suggest that this undercover work of power through bureaucracy (“rule by nobody” according to Arendt) facilitates damage similar to the “banality of evil” in which no one can be held accountable for negative consequences. Finally, I connect these insights with larger environmental concerns, and suggest that the massification of bureaucratic mechanisms such as the Water Code are at the root of the “Great Acceleration” that according to Steffen et. al (2015) has marked the beginning of the Anthropocene. The example of water in Chile shows that our exploitative relation with the environment has deeper roots than just neoliberalism, and includes the bureaucratic apparatus of the modern state as it consolidated in the second half of the twentieth century. I suggest that this is a cause of the sense of agency loss that has been present in many debates nurturing the Anthropo-scene. In the conclusion I show how the imposition of bureaucracy has consequences at the level of our political imagination and our capacity to think about other ways of relating with water and other elements present in the ecosystems we inhabit.es_CL
dc.relationinstname: Conicyt
dc.relationreponame: Repositorio Digital RI2.0
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Chile*
dc.titleThe bureaucratization of the environment. Insights from water in Chilees_CL
dc.contributor.institutionUNIVERSITY OF LONDONes_CL
dc.identifier.folio73180635es_CL Unidoes_CL
dc.subject.oecd1nCiencias Socialeses_CL

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess