Postdoctoral Research Associate
Eszter studies water management interventions for better supply in and around small towns of Northern India and Nepal. Her research interests are varied. She started research in field ecology and moved into environmental law and policy-making in Australia, focusing on community-based natural resource management. Her underlying motivation for engaging in these disparate fields was the common theme of the research-implementation and theory-practice 'gap' in conservation and environmental management, and for unpacking the issue of responsibility for environmental conservation and governance modes for sustainability initiatives more widely.
Her PhD focused on these issues in the context of agriculture in the European Union and Hungary, where she drew from political ecology approaches to studying environmental management interventions, to probe how international ideas of rurality and conservation intersected with the cultural and political economies of a post-socialist state. The tensions and divergences between policy goals and discourses that can be widely ascribed as neoliberal, and their implementation through state agencies through tools of surveillance and auditing were investigated through a series of grounded ethnographies with farmers and government agencies, to ascertain how farming practice as well as farmers themselves have had to change as a result of European expectations and laws - as well as how the European project has aided in the strengthening of more traditional notions of the nation-state, as in the case of Hungary.
She is currently a postdoctoral research associate on the ESPA-funded project on the Political Economy of Water Security in the Himalayas with Dr Bhaskar Vira, wherein they critically examine small town urbanisation processes, links between rural and urban spaces, and how these intersect with water supply and livelihoods across a number of case study towns in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand in Northern India, and in Nepal.