Edited by Diana Suhardiman, Alan Nicol and Everisto Mapedza
Collective action is now recognized as central to addressing the water governance challenges involved in delivering sustainable development and global environmental benefits. Although the forces of globalization have given rise to regional and national economic development, they have also contributed to marginalization of the poor and natural resource degradation. Many communities caught up in this predicament have engaged in grassroots resistance to large-scale land acquisition, mining concessions and hydropower dam development, while also connecting with transnational environmental and rights movements.
A new Earthscan book provides an overview of challenges in collective action through case studies from Africa, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America that deal with sustainable management of freshwater resources. Building on a Foucaultian conception of power, the book examines concepts and practices in collective action that have emerged in recent decades. It gives particular attention to the influence of external forces on natural resource management in local communities, seeking to build a broader understanding of the connections with wider governance structures across scales. On this basis, the book calls for a new system of values, in which equity and diversity decisively inform the discourse on globalization and economic development.
The case studies link community-based management of water resources with national decision-making, transboundary water governance and global policy discussion on sustainable development, justice and water security. Putting power and politics at the center of collective action and water governance discourse, the chapters address three core questions:
- How do current power structures and relationships shape collective action at different scales?
- What kinds of tools and approaches can various actors use for a more deliberative approach to collective action?
- What outcomes across scales could collective action achieve for development, the environment and global resource base?
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