The Politics of Fresh Water: Access, conflict and identity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Politics of Fresh Water

Access, conflict and identity, 1st Edition

Edited by Catherine M. Ashcraft, Tamar Mayer


244 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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Water scarcity is not simply the result of what nature has to offer but always involves power relations and political decisions. This volume discusses the politics of the freshwater crisis, specifically how access to water is determined in different regions and historical periods, how conflict is constructed and managed, and how identity and efforts to control water systems, through development, technologies, and institutions, shape one another.

The book analyzes responses to the water crisis as efforts to mitigate water insecurity and as expressions of collective identity that legitimate, resist, or seek to transform existing inequalities. The chapters focus on different processes that contribute to freshwater scarcity, including land use decisions, pollution, privatization, damming, climate change, discrimination, water management institutions and technology. Case studies are included from North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and New Zealand.

Table of Contents

1. The Politics of Fresh Water: Setting the Stage

Tamar Mayer and Catherine M. Ashcraft

2. Ancient Roman Water Rights and Commons Theory

Cynthia J. Bannon

3. Legal Mobilization and the Politics of Water Pollution: The Case of the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin in Argentina

Daniel Ryan and Andrés Napoli

4. Does River Basin Governance Mean Wider Access to River Management? A Long-term Perspective from the Tennessee, Columbia, and Connecticut Rivers

Eve Vogel

5. Shifting Currents in Water Diplomacy: Negotiating Conflict in the Danube and Nile River Basins

Catherine M. Ashcraft

6. The Era of Big Dam Building: It ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over

Francis J. Magilligan, Chris S. Sneddon, and Coleen A. Fox

7. Oil and Water Don’t Mix: Impacts of Oil and Gas Development on Sakhalin’s Water Resources

Jessica K. Graybill

8. The Plight of New Zealand’s Watersheds

Michael Vincent McGinnis

9. Cultural Water Wars: Power and Hegemony in the Semiotics of Water

David Groenfeldt

10. Theorizing Gender, Ethnic Difference, and Inequality in Relation to Water Access and Politics in Southeastern Turkey

Leila M. Harris

11. Water, Life, and Community in the Arid Realm: The Curious Case of Karez and Acequia

Daanish Mustafa

12. The Politics of Muddled Waters in Gujarat: A Religious Nationalist Development Model’s Treatment of Water

Pushpa Iyer

13. In Hidden View: How Water became a Catalyst for Indigenous Farmworker Resistance in Baja California, Mexico

Marcos López

14. From Management to Governance: Rethinking Water Policy and Privatization on Easter Island

Maria Alessandra Woolson

15. Strange Waters: From Confluence to Vortex in the Los Angeles Basin

T. S. McMillin

About the Editors

Catherine M. Ashcraft is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of New Hampshire, USA.

Tamar Mayer is the Robert R. Churchill Professor of Geosciences and Director of both the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs and the Program in International and Global Studies at Middlebury College, USA.

About the Series

Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management

Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management
This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to water resource management, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. It includes research monographs and titles aimed at professionals, NGOs and policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy