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For a Political Sociology of Water Resources Management

By  and Peter P. MollingaZentrum Für Entwicklungsforschung, H. -d. Evers, Solvay Gerke and Peter P. MollingaConrad Schetter, Dr. Peter, P. Mollinga and Peter P. Mollinga


This paper uses the growing volume of scholarly work on ‘water and politics ’ to conceptually and methodologically frame an approach to the social analysis of water resources management. This paper sets out the thrust and focus of such a ‘political sociology of water resources management’. The framing draws theoretical insights from sociology, development studies, and, obviously, water resources studies. The main theoretical inputs are: a) critical realism as the general ontological and epistemological foundation (Bhaskar, 1989; Sayer, 1984); b) sociological theory on structure-agency dynamics (Giddens, 1984; Archer, 1995) and the notion of public sociology (Burawoy, 2005a); development studies ’ understanding of the different meanings of ‘development ’ (Thomas, 2000); d) theory on politics and social power (Kerkvliet, 1990; Lukes, 2005); and e) my own reading of the water resources literature through the lens of the boundary concept of ‘water control’. The structure of the paper is as follows. Section 1 explains where the attempt at defining a field of water resources management studies in this particular way comes from. The section situates the field in relation to development sociology as the intersection of sociology and development studies; discusses how the notions of discipline and scientific community help to understand the field’s characteristics; and briefly presents my own intellectual trajectory as part of this account. Section 2 discusses the object of a political sociology of water resources management. That discussion has fou

Year: 2008
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