Accepted Paper:

has pdf download When an anthropologist meets hydrologists: a reflection on the sociology of knowledge of Mekong hydrology  

Author:

Jakkrit Sangkhamanee (Chulalongkorn University)

Paper short abstract:

The study examines the training of 'hydrologists' through the analysis of hydrological pedagogy and their field practices and argues against the very idea that scientific epistemology and methodology are objective, universal and pure from any other cultural factors that enclose it.

Paper long abstract:

The paper provides an ethnographic study of hydrology classroom and water laboratory activities and discusses how hydrological science came to be benchmark knowledge in water management in Thailand and Mekong basin. Based on sociological studies of scientific knowledge production as well as philosophical analysis of science practices, the study examines the training of 'hydrologists' through the analysis of hydrological pedagogy and their field practices. The paper also explores the lives and works of training hydrologists, their engagement with classroom and laboratory works, as well as the production and utilization of its representation such as hydrographs, maps, models, and river classification charts.

The author argues that scientific knowledge of water and the science community that produces it are no less a culture and cultural society. The findings show that hydrology as an applied scientific knowledge, instead of being universal and subjective-free, does not escape the fact that it is culturally constructed. In other words, this article argues against the very idea that scientific epistemology and methodology are objective, universal and pure from any other cultural factors that enclose it. The argument that seeing scientific knowledge production as paradigm-laden leads us to further question the sole domination of hydroscience and hydrologists in river management. The critique of the sole acceptance of scientific hydrology as the only benchmark knowledge system in river management allows policy makers to see its limitations and drawbacks. This opens up to other alternative knowledge on water to be recognized and integrated into practice.

Panel P041
Scientific lifeworlds