Memories and the Social Imaginary of Water: New Trends and Perspectives
AbstractThe social imaginary surrounding water is linked to history and cultural heritage as part of the broader social imaginary (Castoriadis). Mythical narratives and other forms of expression (toponymy, rituals, etc.) give meaning to the identity and cultural memory of a community. However, these meanings are neither simple nor absolute, hence the importance of studying these events through a variety of scientific paradigms, such as narratology or ecocriticism. It is also very important to relate the approaches of Humanities and Social Sciences with others from the experimental sciences, hydrology, and technology and water management. In this respect the ideas of Ivan Illich and others about the connection of the different perceptions of water and the need for a critical approach that responds to the environmental crisis and improve water governance are highlighted. This holistic and critical view should also help develop the perception of water as a cultural asset to protect and share, linked to local development and sustainability, and to prevent environmental disasters through responsible governmental policies. Indeed, a stereotype that should be deconstructed is that thinking about the social imaginary of water is a speculative and subjective enterprise, compared with the practical and objective technical knowledge and water management practices, hence the importance of educating citizens and countries responsibly.
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