José Esteban Castro has an interdisciplinary social science background. He was trained as a sociologist (1983-1988) at the National University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Argentina, where he became Head Teaching Assistant in Urban Sociology (Career of Sociology) and provided Research Methodology seminars at the Gino Germani Research Institute until 1990. He also studied Psychology at the same university (1984-1990). Castro obtained a Masters in Social Science at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Mexico (1990-1992), and became a Lecturer in Social Science at the same institution. In 1998, he received a DPhil in Politics from Oxford University. His dissertation focused on the interrelation between water politics and the formation of citizenship in Mexico, and was awarded the 1998 Post-graduate Prize of the British-Mexican Society. Before coming to Newcastle in 2005, he was a Senior Associate Researcher at Oxford University, Lecturer in Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Lecturer in Political Ecology at University College London.
Castro’s work has focused mainly on Latin America and Europe, in particular Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. He has been a visiting professor in a number of universities, including the National University of Buenos Aires (UBA), the National University of Rosario (UNR), the National University of Cordoba, the National University of Cuyo (UNCUYO) in Argentina, the University of Sao Paulo (USP), the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA), and the State University of Paraiba (UEPB) in Brazil, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and the Jesuit University ITESO in Mexico, the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and the University of Alcalá de Henares in Spain.
Among other products of his research work in collaboration with international partners, Castro led the creation of the international research network WATERLAT-GOBACIT (www.waterlat.org), which he also coordinates. The network is dedicated to research, teaching and practical action in relation to the politics and management of water. It has over 300 members (http://waterlat.org/team/members-new/), of which about a third are students, mostly PhD and Master students but also undergraduate students (http://waterlat.org/team/students-new/). The members come from over 30 countries, most from the Americas and Europe, but also from Africa and Asia. However, the members are not only scholars and students based in academic institutions as the network also includes water experts and practitioners working in government departments, water utilities, Non Governmental Organizations, etc., as well as representatives from social movements, water user groups, labour unions, and other relevant social actors. As part of the network's activities of dissemination and engagement with wider publics, he developed and maintains a Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Waterlat) and a Flickr photostream (https://www.flickr.com/photos/125391306@N03/). He also started and coordinates the network's Working Paper Series (www.waterlat.org/publications/working-papers-series), which are the vehicle for the publication of work in progress by members and students. Castro has coordinated a number of international research projects and activities within the framework of the network, including the project DESAFIO (www.desafioglobal.org), which focused on Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, and PRINWASS (www.prinwass.org), which were funded by the European Union.
In addition to his work on the politics of water-related processes, he has two additional areas of research. The first, focuses on the interrelation between socio-ecological inequalities and injustice and the democratization process, with emphasis on Latin America and developing countries more generally. The second, which has strong links with the first, is related to the development of the social sciences in Latin America.
Castro is member of several professional institutions and academic networks, including the International Sociological Association (ISA), the Latin American Sociological Association (ALAS), and the Figurational Research Network of the Norbert Elias Foundation (http://www.norberteliasfoundation.nl/network/index.php). In 2012 he became a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (http://www.amc.mx/).