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Accepted Paper:

Protecting the waterfront: environmental projects in coastal South India  
Frida Hastrup (University of Copenhagen)

Paper long abstract:

Fieldwork along the coast of Tamil Nadu has shown that people there have a sense that the neighbouring sea has come to pose a threat in unforeseen ways. Changes in cyclone and monsoon patterns and erosion have left villagers with the experience that their local waters are increasingly out of control.

In response, and as a reaction to the Asian tsunami that affected the region, the government and NGOs have contrived various coastal protection schemes that aim at controlling the encroachment of the sea. This paper addresses these protective measures as instances of 'environmental projects' as conceptualized by Tsing and Greenough (2003), implying that they be seen as incomplete and awkward and as contingent encounters between bureaucrats, scientists, villagers, trees, water among others. By looking at these environmental projects through their practical enactments, complex understandings of protection emerge, revealing different imageries of the controllability of water, sea, and nature.

Panel W087
Water scenarios: forecasting and liquid knowledge
  Session 1