Practical Authority: Agency and Institutional Change in Brazilian Water Politics - Excerpts

29 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013

See all articles by Rebecca Abers

Rebecca Abers

Independent; University of Brasília

Margaret E. Keck

Johns Hopkins University

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

How do institutional arrangements established by law become operational in practice? It takes work for them to develop problem-solving capabilities and win recognition from others — what the authors call "practical authority." Drawing from a decade-long, multi-site study of efforts to transform freshwater management in Brazil, the authors show how an assortment of protagonists -- from state officials to university professors to activists -- struggled to breathe life into new institutional designs. Their account weaves together three decades of national and state law-making with experimentation in establishing new kinds of participatory water management organizations. Exploring this process in sixteen river basins, the authors examine why some of those organizations adapted creatively to challenges while others never got off the ground. To approach this complex, volatile, and non-linear process of transformation, they develop a framework for investigating the actions and practices of institution-building.

Suggested Citation

Abers, Rebecca and Abers, Rebecca and Keck, Margaret E., Practical Authority: Agency and Institutional Change in Brazilian Water Politics - Excerpts (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper, American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2302112

University of Brasília ( email )

Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro
Asa Norte
Brasília, Distrito Federal 70910-900
Brazil

Margaret E. Keck

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

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