Seeing ‘water blindness’: water control in agricultural intensification and environmental change in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
The study of land, its development, degradation and control, has been central to research on rural development and environmental change. Harold Brookfield has made a notable contribution to this and to our understanding of the political dimensions of society-environment relations. Although Brookfield addresses social and environmental aspects of water control, for instance with reference to the concept of ‘landesque capital’ (Blaikie and Brookfield 1987; Brookfield 2001), his contribution to the study of land has had a more enduring influence on rural development, environmental studies and political ecology. The focus on landbased issues has partially obscured a consideration of the role of water in society, yet water control is a key determinant in the process of agricultural intensification, and unequal access to water can be a significant factor in social differentiation.