Eve Buckley – Technocrats and the Politics of Drought

3 November, 2021 - examPrep

Eve Buckley’s Technocrats and the Politics of Drought and Development in Twentieth-Century Brazil studies the drought-prone sertao region of Brazil and interactions between its inhabitants the sertanejos and technocrat and bureaucrat government representatives as the negotiate their responsibilities to one another and the environment. These disparate groups with sometimes allied, sometimes conflicting, motives struggle to conceive of droughts variously as socio-economic, technological, and/or ecological-climatic problems. Ultimately, Buckley focuses on experts and their knowledge, and though she questions the ability of scientific expertise to solve social problems, she never challenges that expertise by realigning her scholarly focus on local sertanejo expertise, instead, solely examining “science and technology as vexed instruments of social reform in an impoverished Latin American region.”



  1. Knowledge politics and labor: how did different groups and individuals know nature through their labor (a la Richard White)? How did different actors develop knowledge and skills and what kinds of contests emerged among them over how to intervene in non-human nature? Who gets to decide what landscapes and waterscapes are produced? What were the consequences of these contests for nature itself?


  1. Human-non-human-nature relationship: how do people produce nature? what role does non-human nature play in these stories? Is it an actor, acted upon, co-production?


  1. Relationship between time and space.


  1. Declensionism: early environmental histories were often declensionist narratives, often about deforestation. How have these environmental historians of Latin America attempted to move beyond declensionism since the 1990s?

—- David Fletcher, Flood Control Freakology

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