Irrigation, gender, and social geographies of the changing waterscapes of southeastern Anatolia

  • Harris L
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Most theorists understand gender geographies as highly differentiated and shifting, in terms of both time and space. If gender is historically and geographically contingent then the analysis of gender should be attentive to the particular conditions that materialize the very idea of gender, giving it the appearance of being fixed and natural. The physical landscape, or waterscape in the case of southeastern Turkey, is potentially central to the ways that gender is invoked and lived in particular settings, with important effects. Using case-study work on irrigation-related changes in southeastern Turkey, I consider gender in relation to livelihoods and work practices, landholdings, and ethnicity revealing that, in addition to conditioning differential outcomes for residents of the plain, these categories of social difference are themselves fundamentally renegotiated and recast in relation to waterscape change. I argue that explicit consideration of environmental conditions and practices is central to understanding the operation of gender in certain contexts, as well as to understanding the lived experiences of women and men, providing insights for gender theory and politics.

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  • Leila M. Harris

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