The case of floods in the la Picasa lagoon: ¿an opportunity for the construction of a collective representation of “environmental disaster”?

El caso de las inundaciones en la laguna la Picasa: ¿Una oportunidad para la construcción de una representación colectiva del “desastre ambiental”?

p. 011-025

Rosenstein, S.; Montico, S.; Bonel, B.; Rosenstein, C.


The objective of this work was to analyze and interpret the various representations that communities affected by floods build around the topic of “environmental disaster” and around the solutions to avoid it proposed at a participatory diagnosis instance. The variable to be observed was the actors representation of “environmental disaster” which was sought for at two different levels: at the individual level, through semi-structured in-depth interviews and at the collective level through workshops.

The analysis of the actor's individual as well as collective discourse showed that there is a consensus on the definition of floods as a problem, a fact shown both by the meaning actors attribute to the effects of floods and by the priority they give to the problems afflicting them. All respondents pointed out that floods have had –and still have- a strong impact on everyday life, even though not all of them notice the same symptoms of the problem. The meanings ascribed to the effects of floods showed different degrees of significance depending on the respondent's previous experience and on the interests shaping their point of view, which accounts for the multiple interpretations found. Even though there are differences among the areas under study, the awareness of the risk of floods has not yet attained enough importance as to lead the changes in practices. In Rufino, the preeminence of the conflict has reinforced the lack of social organization, whereas in Aarón Castellanos and Diego de Alvear, farmers have had to try and search for the solutions by themselves due to the lack of commitment shown by the community.


floods, meanings, search for solutions, participatory diagnosis