If water is a crucial subject for many experts or civil society members, it is often less for itself than because it concerns very diverse challenges: agriculture, urbanization, health, ecology, policies, art, culture and representations... Hence this transversal programme at IFP wishes to marry different disciplines and various views and methodologies on water.
Three axes structure it.
1.Access to water: "production", consumption, policies, society and representations
For both irrigation and drinking water, the issue of access to sufficient water in quantity and quality is very sensitive in India, particularly from a long-term sustainable development perspective. The interrelationships between public policies, management, uses and representations appear crucial in a "hydro-social" vision, e.g. differentiated access to irrigation along caste and class hierarchies.The problems of contemporary India could be interestingly compared with historical and archaeological approaches to the same issues.
2. Water landscapes and culture: from art to tourism
The ancient Tamil poetry of Sangam gave great space to rivers as well as to the sea. Contemporary representations do not neglect either the representation of water in all its diversity, from painting or cinema to the actors of tourism. Building comparative bridges between these fields cannot but be heuristically useful.
3. Aquatic environments, between botany and human settlements
All living things need water, especially wetland ecosystems. The negative or positive impacts of human societies on these ecosystems should ideally be analyzed in an interaction between natural sciences and social sciences/humanities. The issue of coastal interfaces (mangroves, fisheries, tourism, urbanization, coastal industries, etc.) is particularly sensitive because of the specific pressures they are subject to and the narrowness and fragility of these areas.
List of current projects under this programme
- ATCHA project on irrigated agriculture in Karnataka
- WaterPondi project on lakes in Pondicherry
- Project RUSE
- Historical Atlas of South India
- Vernacular mathematics
- Contemporary Tamil studies programme