New publication by Felipe de Alba, EURIAS fellow 2011-2012


"Challenging state modernity: Governmental adaptation and informal water politics in Mexico City"

Felipe de Alba, Current Sociology, September 23, 2016


This article analyzes political practices shaping water usage in the Mexico City region. Based on four different case studies, it reflects on the role of intermediaries in the state restructuring process. The cases explore political negotiation over the use of water in contexts of shortage or abundance, clean potable water, or waste water. The article illustrates how the use of natural resources affects the state’s role and how it reconfigures citizen participation. It compares traditional political mechanisms such as clientelism or electoral promotion, with emergent informal practices such as the multiplication of intermediaries who distribute water privately, but are ambiguously subsidized and organized by public institutions. It concludes that unequal water provision and intermediaries are key elements for the renewal of state legitimacy.