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Paper: Representation justice as a research agenda for socio-hydrology and water governance

Updated: Nov 11

Haeffner, M, D. Hellman, A. Cantor, I. Ajibade, V. Oyanedel-Craver, M. Kelly, L. Schifman & L. Weasel. (2021). Representation justice as a research agenda for socio-hydrology and water governance. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 66:11, 1611-1624. DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2021.1945609


We propose representation justice as a theoretical lens for socio-hydrology and water governance studies. An exploratory survey of 496 water sector employees in the United States revealed that self-identifying females felt more strongly discriminated against due to their gender and other social factors, compared to self-identifying males. Responses unveiled how macro- and microaggressions impede career pathways to leadership positions and, therefore, representation. We identify ways in which socio-hydrology can benefit from a representation justice lens by considering the following: (1) how power and politics shape the composition of the water sector and decision-making processes; (2) how available quantitative data do not account for lived experiences of individuals in the water sector; and (3) how intersectionality cannot easily be accounted for in current socio-hydrological models. We offer a representation justice research and water management agenda that goes beyond quota filling to include meaningful engagement with diverse groups, lenses, and knowledge.


Figure includes a circular diagram with five blue rectangles on either side, two back rectangles in the middle, and lines connecting the outer and inner rectangles. The left side reads, "socio-hydrology (research)" and the right side reads "water governance and management practices". Diagram depicts community engagement and communication as black rectangles in the middle, saying that both sides need to work together to communicate.
Figure 3. Representation justice: hypothesized outcomes for socio-hydrology research and water governance through a representation justice lens.

Representation justice as a research agenda for socio hydrology and water governance
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