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Content archived on 2024-05-30

"Irrigation and Society: ""levadas da Madeira"""


Overall objective: The present project aims at analyzing the historical construction and development of irrigations systems by a society. It emphasizes the role of technology and institutions for construction, water management and control. The research examines how irrigation organization has been crafted over the time, until today and how the present governance system reflects historical transformations within the society and its segments. Addressing the relations of a particular society to irrigation the project contributes to enlarge the existing knowledge of these relationships in different world contexts. The context of the project is the island of Madeira in relation to its fragile resource: The set of ancient and modern systems of canal irrigation called “levadas”, is the main scene where this research has to be implemented. The network of irrigation channels is impressive. Through the Mediterranean, there is no situation where exists such density of watercourses. Madeira provides an ideal position to interrogate universal social theories in irrigation, while at the same time contributing to the regional history and anthropology of irrigation agriculture. The project fixes as milestones the following goals: a) The production of a technological geography of irrigation systems b) An interpretive anthropological study of selected irrigation systems c) An interpretation of the modern water governance d) In addition a portrait of some of the irrigation cultural patterns of Madeira society. These objectives will be achieved by means of an innovative strategy to investigate irrigation technology and institutions in ‘their context’. Results: Assessment of social history and organisation of Madeira irrigation will be produced. In addition, the research project through the diffusion of its results may participate to water debate in Madeira. The project by its multidisciplinary approach contributes to scientific excellence expected in Marie Curie actions

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Universidade da Madeira
EU contribution
€ 128 611,32
Praça do Município
9000-081 Funchal

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Região Autónoma da Madeira Região Autónoma da Madeira Região Autónoma da Madeira
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Carlos Lencastre (Dr.)
Total cost
No data