Water, Politics and Development: Framing a Political Sociology of Water Resources Management

TitleWater, Politics and Development: Framing a Political Sociology of Water Resources Management
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2008
Secondary TitleWater Alternatives
Key themesFraming Concepts in Water Governance

The 'politics of water' is an expanding area of scholarship and research. Despite it being a rather dispersed field of research, it allows a degree of systematising and abstraction. This paper attempts to delineate this emerging field of research which the authors label the 'political sociology of water resources management'. Water resources management, understood as politically contested water control, is the subject matter of this field of study. 'Sociology' refers to the social embeddedness of water resources management, of which context and history are key aspects. This perspective states that in a comprehensive analysis of water resources management the social relations of power that are part of it need to be explicitly addressed. The papers maps out four domains of water politics investigation (everyday politics, politics of state policy, hydropolitics and global water politics), and their interlinkages as a fifth domain – a topology of water politics. It then provides a description of the standpoint and method of the field. It discusses a number of features that the standpoint and method might have by characterising the political sociology of water resources management as having to be a critical sociology, a practical sociology, a comparative sociology and an interdisciplinary sociology.


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