Water, Wine, Vinegar, Blood: on Politics, Participation, Violence and conflict over the Hydrosocial Contract

Water, Wine, Vinegar, Blood: on Politics, Participation, Violence and conflict over the Hydrosocial Contract

Jeroen Warner, Wageningen University

While `water wars’ are not as rife as predicted in the 1990s, the world is currently facing a spate of conflicts over water, most famously the case of Cochabamba, Bolivia. The article argues to see them not as conflicts over the resource itself, but over the terms of engagement between state and society.

The emerging Hydro-Social Contract Theory (HMSC) can be helpful in describing such crises, usefully connects the interaction with society with the interaction with natural resources. It highlights the crossroads between conflictive and cooperative junctures in social relations.

In terms of the HSCT, recent conflicts over privatisation and infrastructural projects seem to highlight crises of the Lockeian contract. This article suggests that dissenting voices demand the serious consideration of a third type of hydrosocial contract – the Rousseauian hydrosocial contract.

Download the paperIMHO, this is a very important resource to activists and policy makers alike to understand the political science background of water conflicts.

Enjoy,

Nabil

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