Bras. Political Sci. Rev.. 01/Jun/2014;8(2):123-6.

Critical Comparatives Perspectives in Water and Sanitation Systems

Eduardo Marques

DOI: 10.1590/1981-38212014000100015

The study of infrastructure services has long remained a field of technical studies carried out by the engineering community or by economists and finance experts, with few exceptions. This absence of contributions from other areas has caused the presence and dissemination of what the authors of this book call “mainstream water and sanitation policies” – general and standardised solutions for water and sanitation services (WSS) worldwide –, which have disregarded local processes and differences. This situation has had disastrous consequences in several countries and cities in the last few decades, and has been reinforced by policy solutions internationally disseminated by donor institutions and multilateral organisations.

The book edited by José Castro and Léo Heller offers a critical perspective of these policies. It aims to address the gap between the technical elements and social science analyses by critically discussing the recent provision of WSS all over the world. It is a product of successful research network “Governance, citizenship, water management and environmental health in developing countries” (Gobacit), which has promoted regular international seminars and is currently developing Waterlat (Research Network on Governance and Citizenship in Water Management and Environmental Health), with a focus on Latin America. This network’s existence gives it stronger cohesion than what is usually found in edited volumes.


Critical Comparatives Perspectives in Water and Sanitation Systems