Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Natural Science and Mathematics, Geography and the Environment

First Advisor

Hanson Nyantakyi-Frimpong

Second Advisor

Matthew Taylor

Third Advisor

Alejandro Cerón

Fourth Advisor

Hillary Hamann


Drones, Feminist political ecology, Ghana, Participatory drone mapping, Soil health, Water security


Dam discourse frequently incorrectly assumes that their emergence unilinearly translates to an expansion of economic opportunities while not considering how dams become sites for the reproduction of inequality and injustice. This dissertation investigates how the politics of irrigation water access are nested in a complex web of physical materialities of the 'natural' environment and power relations, with lived consequences on differentiated social identities in semiarid Ghana. The research draws on transdisciplinary perspectives from political ecology, embodiment, critical physical geography, and mixed methods, including interviews, focus group discussions, surveys, participatory drone mapping, and laboratory analysis of soil biochemical properties. The study demonstrates how the physical infrastructure of irrigation dam canals filters through and reproduces hierarchical spatial inequality and uneven geographies of access to water. In particular, different irrigators experience different bodily effects depending on where their irrigation fields are located. Through participatory drone mapping, this dissertation shows the utility of emerging drone technologies for spatially situated story-mapping of human-environment interactions. Importantly, the study demonstrates how water and gender politics are implicated in the spatial pattern of soil chemical properties along irrigation canals. By interlinking the social with the physiographic, this dissertation enriches geographic and water security discourse by situating the politics of water in the physical materialities of the environment. Consequently, dam development policy that isolates the natural environment from the sociopolitical systems in which it emerges risks having little impact.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dinko Hanaan Dinko


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

213 pgs


Water resources management

Available for download on Friday, August 01, 2025