Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building

Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building

by Ken Conca
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MIT Press

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Governing Water: Contentious Transnational Politics and Global Institution Building

Water is a key component of critical ecosystems, a marketable commodity, a foundation of local communities and cultures, and a powerful means of social control. It has become a source of contentious politics and social controversy on a global scale, and the management of water conflicts is one of the biggest challenges in the effort to achieve effective global environmental governance.

In Governing Water, Ken Conca examines political struggles to create a global framework for the governance of water. Threats to the world's rivers, watersheds, and critical freshwater ecosystems have resisted the establishment of effective global agreements through intergovernmental bargaining because the conditions for successful interstate cooperation — effective state authority, stable knowledge frameworks, and a territorialized understanding of nature — cannot be imposed upon water controversies. But while interstate water diplomacy has faltered, less formalized institutions — socially and politically embedded rules, roles, and practices — have emerged to help shape water governance locally and globally.

Conca examines the politics of these institutions, presenting a framework for understanding global environmental governance based on key institutional presumptions about territoriality, authority, and knowledge. He maps four distinct processes of institution building: formal international regimes for shared rivers; international networking among water experts and professionals; social movements opposing the construction of large dams; and the struggle surrounding transnational water "marketization." These cases illustrate the potential for alternative institutional forms in situations where traditional interstate regimes are ineffective.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262532730
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/30/2005
Series: Global Environmental Accord: Strategies for Sustainability and Institutional Innovation Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 486
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Series Forewordix
1Managing the Global Environment or Protecting the Planet's Places? Institutional Forms of Global Environmental Governance1
2Toward a Social Theory of International Institutions35
3Pushing Rivers Around: The Cumulative Toll on the World's Watersheds and Freshwater Ecosystems73
4Swimming Upstream: In Search of a Global Regime for International Rivers (with Fengshi Wu and Joanne Neukirchen)93
5Expert Networks: The Elusive Quest for Integrated Water Resources Management123
6The Ecology of Human Rights: Anti-Dam Activism and Watershed Democracy167
7Invisible Hand, Visible Fist: The Transnational Politics of Water Marketization215
8Brazil: Innovation through Conflict257
9South Africa: "With Water We Will Wash Away the Past"311
10Institution Building as the Social Embedding of Political Struggle373

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