1st Edition

Global Resource Scarcity Catalyst for Conflict or Cooperation?

Edited By Marcelle C. Dawson, Christopher Rosin, Nave Wald Copyright 2018
    224 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A common perception of global resource scarcity holds that it is inevitably a catalyst for conflict among nations; yet, paradoxically, incidents of such scarcity underlie some of the most important examples of international cooperation. This volume examines the wider potential for the experience of scarcity to promote cooperation in international relations and diplomacy beyond the traditional bounds of the interests of competitive nation states.

    The interdisciplinary background of the book’s contributors shifts the focus of the analysis beyond narrow theoretical treatments of international relations and resource diplomacy to broader examinations of the practicalities of cooperation in the context of competition and scarcity. Combining the insights of a range of social scientists with those of experts in the natural and bio-sciences—many of whom work as ‘resource practitioners’ outside the context of universities—the book works through the tensions between ‘thinking/theory’ and ‘doing/practice’, which so often plague the process of social change. These encounters with scarcity draw attention away from the myopic focus on market forces and allocation, and encourage us to recognise more fully the social nature of the tensions and opportunities that are associated with our shared dependence on resources that are not readily accessible to all.

    The book brings together experts on theorising scarcity and those on the scarcity of specific resources. It begins with a theoretical reframing of both the contested concept of scarcity and the underlying dynamics of resource diplomacy. The authors then outline the current tensions around resource scarcity or degradation and examine existing progress towards cooperative international management of resources. These include food and water scarcity, mineral exploration and exploitation of the oceans. Overall, the contributors propose a more hopeful and positive engagement among the world’s nations as they pursue the economic and social benefits derived from natural resources, while maintaining the ecological processes on which they depend.

    1. Resource Scarcity between Conflict and Cooperation

    Marcelle C. Dawson, Christopher Rosin and Navé Wald

    Part I Reframing Scarcity and Resource Diplomacy

    2. Taking the Scare out of Scarcity: The Case of Water

    Lyla Mehta

    3. Cooperation in the Power Sector to Advance Regionalisation Processes and Sustainable Energy Flows

    Andreas Lindström, Kevin Rosner and Jakob Granit

    Part II Resource Scarcity and Tensions in International Relations

    4. Phosphorus Security: Future Pathways to Reduce Food System Vulnerability to a New Global Challenge

    Stuart White and Dana Cordell

    5. Peasant Mineral Resource Extractivism and the Idea of Scarcity

    Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

    6. Whose Scarcity, Whose Security? Multi-scalar Contestation of Water in the Indus Basin

    Douglas Hill

    7. Protecting our Global Ocean Heritage: Unprecedented Threats will Require Bold Interventions

    Todd L. Capson

    Part III Building Resilience Through Resource Cooperation

    8. Food Sovereignty and the Politics of Food Scarcity

    Alana Mann

    9. Rare Earth Diplomacy: Mitigating Conflict over Technology Minerals

    Elliot Brennan

    10. Going with the Flow: Can River Health be a Focus for Foreign Policy?

    David Tickner

    11. Don’t Forget the Fish! Transnational Collaboration in Governing Tuna Fisheries in the Pacific

    Victoria Jollands and Karen Fisher

    12 A World Without Scarcity?

    Marcelle C. Dawson, Christopher Rosin and Navé Wald


    Marcelle C. Dawson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work, University of Otago, New Zealand, and a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

    Christopher Rosin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Tourism, Sport and Society at Lincoln University, New Zealand.

    Navé Wald is a researcher at the Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, New Zealand.