ThinkPiece: A Critical Realist’s Reflections on Coupling the Hydrological and Social Systems during a Global Crisis

  • Mary Murphy University of Cambridge, United Kingdom


Hydro-sociology is a recent field of study that aims to couple the human and water systems. It appears to be a response to dualistic thinking within hydrology and sociology that is also reflected in theoretical debates about structure and agency. Reflections about how specific rivers have ignited personal agency and define some of our political and economic structures are shared. Critical realists like Margaret Archer argue that reflexivity is a mediating tool between structure and agency. But what mediating tool is/can be used to mediate between the hydrological and sociological fields and related thinking? This think piece is a reflection on how a critical realist approach to structure and agency may deepen the connection and understanding of hydro-sociology.

Keywords: critical realism, hydro-sociology, duality, water, structure and agency


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2411-5959
print ISSN: 1810-0333