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  • Publication
    Communication practices and citizens' participation in the Colombian water movement
    (University College Dublin. School of Sociology, 2014) ;
    In the last decade, social movements' struggles for water and environmental justice have noticeably increased in Colombia and Latin America. These struggles have largely been a consequence of the implementation of neoliberal policies of water privatisation and the rise of large-scale projects such as mining and dams. These emerging social movements have produced new expressions of collective democratic participation. This thesis analyses communication practices in the Colombian water movement. It argues that these practices have created new forms of participation and citizenship which have deepened democracy. Furthermore, they have contributed to increasing the socio-political visibility and relevance of the water conflicts in Colombia. The communication practices used by the Colombian water movement have permitted the re-opening and appropriation of spaces for participation and have contributed to promoting more inclusive and democratic practices and policies on governance and protection of natural common goods. Spaces for dialogue, meeting, diffusion of information, lobbying and protesting represent an exercise of active citizenship which has deepened Colombian democracy. This is particularly important in Colombia, a country with more than 50 years of internal violent conflict that has inhibited social movements and citizen engagement with issues of public concern. The thesis uses literature on new social movements (NSM), communication approaches (participatory, public, and communication for social change) and citizenship. The major theoretical contribution of this thesis lies in complementing NSM theories with communication approaches drawn from development studies. Combining these bodies of work furthers our understanding of the complex interactions of communities mobilising towards achieving social and environmental justice.
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