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  • Centre d'Etudes Himalayennes
    UPR 299 - CNRS
  • Campus Condorcet
  • Bâtiment de recherche Sud
  • 5, cours des Humanités
  • 93300 Aubervilliers
  • France
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Olivia Aubriot (CEH) defends her HDR thesis on Tuesday 30 June 2020 at 2pm, Campus Condorcet

Farmers’ irrigation systems studied via techniques and territorial markers – with regard to the water-society co-construction


Panel of examiners :
Stéphane GHIOTTI, CNRS (Art-Dev, UMR 5281).
Olivier GRAEFE, Université de Fribourg (Suisse), département de Géosciences. Rapporteur
Frédéric LANDY, Université de Nanterre et Institut Français de Pondichéry (Inde). Référent
Peter MOLLINGA, SOAS, Londres. Rapporteur
Joëlle SMADJA, CNRS (Centre d’études himalayennes, UPR 299).
Fabienne WATEAU, CNRS (LESC, UMR 7186).

The viva will be held in room 0.004, ground floor of bâtiment de Recherche Nord du Campus Condorcet (cf. map and location of Bât. de Rech. Nord). Entrance via 15 rue Waldeck- Rochet.
The viva is open to the public within a limit of 25 places.
There will be a live stream of the proceedings : please contact for the link.



This “HDR” (Accreditation to supervise research) thesis is based on three elements: a scientific trajectory that has focused on the study of ancient irrigation systems; a renewal of academic approaches to water-related studies; and recent fieldwork that highlights poor collective water management and reconfigured power relations. The result is a synthesis of farmer managed irrigation systems through the questioning of this particular category, of what the techniques reveal about the society using them and of what the future holds for these systems, especially in places where groundwater irrigation has developed. This work aims to show that irrigation techniques and spatial dimensions lie at the interface between society and its representation of water in their reciprocal shaping of each other (the water-society co-construction), which makes it possible, from a methodological point of view, to address the challenges regarding irrigation systems from a technical and spatial perspective. Irrigation management has emerged as part of an increasingly broad social, political and technical context that incorporates ideas, paradigms and practices of globalized networks that valorize formal institutions, modern techniques and the monetarized economy. This leads to a transformation of state-community relations, to the promotion of certain political relations, but also to a heightening of the inequalities regarding access to water. This therefore marks a gradual end to farmer irrigation systems that are characterized by the use of local materials and customary organisations.

Olivia Aubriot

To download the flyer (in French)