Reckoning Resources

Political Lives of Anticipation in Belize’s Water Sector

  • Sophie Haines University of Oxford


Participants in Belize’s water sector encounter challenges in identifying and living within shifting environments, and in conducting the work of expectation given ambiguities in rainfall patterns, historical records, institutional resources and political interests. Policymakers, scientists and practitioners generate and organise different kinds of foreknowledge as they anticipate future quantities, qualities and distribution of water, amid questions about the patterning of expertise and the nature of water as a resource. I present three ethnographic vignettes to address: the navigation of nonknowledge in water policy implementation; the frictions that arise in modelling workshops where trainees generate data-driven maps of future environments; and the situated sensing of environmental change. Building on a concept of ‘reckoning’ that highlights cross-cutting technical, relational, political and affective dimensions of meaning-making, I situate these foreknowledge practices in the socio-material contexts of environmental perception, socio-economic development, and the political lives of anticipation.


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