The Sociogenesis of Water Stress

Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


This chapter examines the intertwining between environmental and social processes in the transformation of the Basin of Mexico’s hydro-geology and in shaping socio-economic, cultural, and political structures and patterns. It shows how human intervention in the aquatic ecosystems, punctuated by protracted social confrontations, has burdened successive generations of Mexicans with an ever-spiralling mortgage to repay in relation to the material and social investments needed to sustain human control over water and make life possible in the basin. From pre-Columbian times, access to water became a key factor of social differentiation and segregation, establishing patterns of social inequality that were deepened and exacerbated by colonial water policies and, particularly, by the modern urbanization process since the late nineteenth century. Also, although the encounter between Indians and Spaniards took largely the form of a syncretistic process, it happened in the context of a colonial system of domination, which was not substantially transformed by the Mexican Independence or even by the Mexican Revolution. Drastic transformations took place not only in the forms of human control over the physical environment but also, and more importantly, in the economic, socio-political and cultural aspects of the relation between humans and water, thus also transforming the forms of social control over inter-human processes.


Water Stress Mexico City Federal District Water Service Social Struggle 
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Copyright information

© José Esteban Castro 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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