Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity

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Water is a source of life and culture as well as of power, conflicting interests and identity battles. This book examines the multi-scale struggles for cultural justice and socio-economic redistribution that arise as peasant and indigenous communities and user federations seek access to water resources and decision-making power. It is set in the dynamic context of unequal, globalizing power relations, politics of scale and identity, environmental encroachment and the increasing presence of extractive industries that are creating additional pressures on local livelihoods. Against all odds, people employ their hybrid water rights systems, cultures and hydro-political networks, dynamically challenging the mainstream powers and politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This book is an extraordinary intellectual and political tour de force. For the first time, the complex power-laden processes that shape the relationships between water rights, politics and identity are explored in ways that are academically stimulating, intellectually enriching and politically significant - an indispensible guide for all those who seek both to better understand how water rights and social, cultural or political power intertwine and to formulate and engage in socially empowering and politically liberating strategies of resistance and transformation.'Erik Swyngedouw, Professor of Geography, University of Manchester, UK

'Out of the Mainstream is one of the most powerful critiques of the neoliberal globalisation utopia I have ever read. In their careful and penetrating studies, the contributors reveal the rich and varied experiences of communal water systems, the struggles of local communities against neoliberal policies and their collective attempts to construct sustainable livelihoods.' Cristbal Kay, Emeritus Professor International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, the Netherlands

'This book is a path breaking compilation of essays that include and provoke critical thinking about the law and politics of water allocation and power relationships. It reveals the failings of free market approaches linked to the global thirst for water and other resources, and provides needed guidance for reevaluating those approaches with attention to the wisdom and longstanding resource use practices of indigenous and other local communities.'S. James Anaya, Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy, University of Arizona; and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People

'The mark of a groundbreaking book is that it sheds light on an enduring problem in an entirely new way. Tackling the critical confrontation between traditional and modern water systems, the authors bring convincing new field data and insights to the contentious debates surrounding the water crisis in the Andes and indigenous communities of North America.'Robert E. Rhoades, Distinguished Research Professor, University of Georgia, USA

'Out of the Mainstream is a solid addition to any political collection focusing on the environment.' Willis M. Buhle, The Midwest Book Review 'The EarthScan book breaks through many misconceptions about water rights and management to describe local and community use of water from the bottom-up.' Jeff Thurston, Vector One 'This book rejects a number of shibboleths among water professionals and replaces them with advice that emphasises fairness, community, and bottom-up democracy.'Helen Ingram, Water Alternatives

'This excellent collection examines market-generated water conflicts and responses at local, regional, and national levels in a set of case studies involving people and communities in the Andes and the US Southwest'B.F.Hope, Choice Magazine, October 2010

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844076765
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/28/2010
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Rutgerd Boelens is a researcher with Wageningen University, The Netherlands, coordinator of the South American programs Water Law and Indigenous Rights (WALIR) and Concertacion. In books, articles and films, he has widely published on the linkages between water rights, cultures, policies and power relations.

David H. Getches focused most of his academic and legal career on the rights of native peoples and on water rights in the United States. Since 2003 he has been Dean of the University of Colorado Law School and he holds the title of Raphael J. Moses Professor of Natural Resources Law.

Armando Guevara-Gil is a Law Professor at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Lima. His main fields are Law and Anthropology, History of Law, and Law & Development. He served as the national coordinator of the Water Law and Indigenous Rights Project in Peru (WALIR), headed by Wageningen University and the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes xi

Acknowledgements xiii

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations xv

Part I An Introduction to Water Rights, Power, Identity and Social Struggle

1 Water Struggles and the Politics of Identity Rutgerd Boelens David Getches Armando Guevara-Gil 3

Introduction 3

Water rights, collectives and identity in the Andean countries 7

Contents of the book 11

Water rights, water territories and the politics of scale and identity 17

2 Water Property Relations and Modern Policy Regimes: Neoliberal Utopia and the Disempowerment of Collective Action Hans Achterhuis Rutgerd Boelens Margreet Zwarteveen 27

Introduction 27

Utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares 29

Neoliberal capitalism as a Utopia? 30

Understanding water policies as Utopian neoliberal projects 42

Conclusions 50

3 The Limits of State Reform and Multiculturalism in Latin America: Contemporary Illustrations Willem Assies 57

Three decades of indigenous struggle 57

Evaluating the new multiculturalism 59

Multicultural policies in Latin America 61

Conclusions 70

4 A Masculine Water World: The Politics of Gender and Identity in Irrigation Expert Thinking Margreet Zwarteveen 75

Introduction 75

Misrepresenting women and gender in irrigation 76

Power, perspective and knowledge 77

Gendered metaphors and dichotomies 81

Technical and management systems and boundaries 84

Conclusions 89

Part II Politics of Identity and Andean Livelihoods

5 Identity Politics and Indigenous Movements in Andean History Michiel Baud 99

Introduction 99

Equality and exclusion in Latin America 101

The 'liberal' revolution in Ecuador, 1895 103

Indigenistas and anthropologists 105

The emergence of indigenous movements in the late 20th century 108

Indigenous movements and contemporary politics 111

Conclusions 113

6 Cultural Identity and Indigenous Water Rights in the Andean Highlands Paul H. Gelles 119

Introduction: Water and identity in the Central Andes 119

Indigenous people, Andean culture and the politics of representation 120

The highland community and water 127

Indigenous mobilization and the cultural politics of water 131

Conclusions 137

7 Land, Water and the Search for Sustainable Livelihood in the Andes Annelies Zoomers 145

Introduction 145

The 'Andean attitude' to natural resources: The holistic picture 149

Current patterns of land and water tenure: A basis for sustainable livelihoods? 151

Land and water as criteria for well-being and social mobility 156

Conclusions and policy implications 159

Part III Tensions and Mergers Among Local Water Rights and National Policies

8 Water Laws, Collective Rights and System Diversity in the Andean Countries Jan Hendriks 165

Introduction 165

Legal security of water rights 166

Individual rights and system rights 169

Diversity of systems 173

Water, territoriality and community 178

Conclusions 180

9 Water Rights and Conflicts in an Inter-Andean Watershed: The Achamayo River Valley, Junín, Peru Armando Guevara-Gil 183

Introduction 183

Official design versus local reality 184

Water organization and management in the Achamayo River Basin 186

Conflicts over water and legal pluralism in an inter-Andean watershed 188

Conclusions 192

10 Water Rights, Mining and Indigenous Groups in Chile's Atacama Jessica Budds 197

Introduction 197

Chile's 1981 Water Code 199

Water, mining and indigenous groups in the Atacama 203

Conclusions 208

11 Indian Water Rights in Conflict with State Water Rights: The Case of the Pyramid Lake Partite Tribe in Nevada, US Charles F. Wilkinson 213

Introduction: Indian reserved water rights 213

A fishery in 'exclusive possession' of the Indians 215

Water for non-Indian neighbours 217

Pyramid Lake fishery imperilled 218

The legal struggle 220

Conclusions 221

12 Acequias of the South-Western US in Tension with State Water Laws Gregory A. Hicks 223

Introduction 223

Foundations of the South-west: Acequias 223

Western US expansion and Mexican water institutions 224

Loss of watershed autonomy; loss of acequia landscape 228

Restoration of the acequia commons: Landowner commitment and state action 229

Conclusions 232

13 Community-Controlled Codification of Local Resource Tenure: An Effective Tool for Defending Local Rights? André Hoekema 235

Introduction 235

Territorial rights negotiations and codification of local tenure 237

Ethnic reconstruction and inter-legality 241

The third way in matters of land tenure reform 248

Conclusions 252

Part IV Social Mobilization and Grassroots Strategies for Water Rights

14 Using International Law to Assert Indigenous Water Rights David Getches 259

Introduction 259

International law 260

Potential indigenous water rights claims under international law 263

Conclusions 276

15 Networking Strategies and Struggles for Water Control: From Water Wars to Mobilizations for Day-to-Day Water Rights Defence Rutgerd Boelens Rocío Bustamante Tom Perreault 281

Introduction 281

Social movements and natural resource management in the Andes: The roles of livelihood and spatial scale 283

Water wars and multi-scalar strategies in Bolivia 286

Social mobilization and multi-scalar networks for water rights justice: An Ecuadorian case 293

Multi-scalar networks and strategies for water rights defence: Social movements, transnational networks and the politics of scale 298

Conclusions 300

16 Federating and Defending: Water, Territory and Extraction in the Andes Anthony Bebbington Denise Humphreys Bebbington Jeffrey Bury 307

Introduction 307

Extraction, water and territory 308

Federation and contestation 314

Mining, water and rural organization in Piura, Peru 318

Conclusions 322

17 Conclusions: Water Rights, Power and Identity Armando Guevara-Gil Rutgerd Boelens David Getches 329

List of Contributors 343

The Networks Water Law and Indigenous Rights (WALIR), Concertación and Justicia Hídrica 351

Index 353

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