Towards an Understanding of Discursive Hegemony: Water Conservation "Talk" in a Globalized Field

EPA Grant Number: U915935
Title: Towards an Understanding of Discursive Hegemony: Water Conservation "Talk" in a Globalized Field
Investigators: Bahamondes, Carylanna T.
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through January 1, 2003
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Social Sciences , Environmental Justice


The objective of this research project is to explore how knowledge is transferred across a global playing field consisting of an international scientific and policymaking arena, a nation state, a subnational nongovernment organization (NGO), and small-scale farmers.


I will build on an extensive survey of these farmers, who reside within the boundaries of the newly created Cerro Azul Meámbar National Park, Honduras. The theme of water conservation was chosen because it is central to the concerns of park residents and to the legislation that brought the park into being. The fact that issues of water conservation are common to concerns about preservation and sustainable development at all three levels (international, national, and local) makes it a useful lens to observe the mechanisms by which discourse is transferred and contested. By summarizing water related "talk" at each level, a common agenda can be observed. However, contestation of this agenda can be observed in how the Honduran government focuses its conservation legislation on securing water supply for potable water and hydroelectricity, how the NGO that manages the park shifts its environmental education program to include culture and religion, and how park residents assert their own "alternative transcript" to leverage a stronger focus on water quality and provision of energy within the park. Finally, I draw on a Gramscian notion of hegemony to explore whether an international agenda for water conservation can be considered hegemonic across this discursive field.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, nongovernment organization, NGO, Cerro Azul Me�mbar National Park, Honduras, hegemony, water conservation, policymaking, farmers, sustainable development., RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, POLLUTION PREVENTION, sustainable development, Economics, decision-making, International, Agronomy, Economics & Decision Making, Social Science, farmers, Honduras, economic reform, hegemony, culture and social practices, agriculture, water conservation, cultural dimensions of place, behavior change, sustainable agriculture

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001
  • Final