Inge Dekker, Emanuele Fantini

Nature based solution for flood control in The Netherlands. Socialising water or naturifying society?

  • Abstract

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Keywords: naturification, water socialisation, multispecies ethnography, justice, Netherlands.

This article contributes to the debate on water (re)socialisation by looking at contemporary Dutch flood management, which suggests a paradigm shift by giving land back to water: ontpoldering. Focusing on the case of the island Tiengemeten, a place «given back to nature» and water, we explore which actors define nature and how much space and time nature and water receive, as well as the implications of these processes for humans and non-humans. To understand these processes we propose the notion of naturification, analyzed in light of social, environmental and ecological justice theories. This brought us to the conclusion that awareness is needed for the side effects of this promising increase in ecological justice: the disruption of community fabric and a loss of diverse ways of defining and relating to nature and water. Material for this research has been collected through multispecies ethnography consisting of participatory observation, participatory mapping and semi-structured interviews.

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