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Re-imagined Communities: a new ethical approach to water policy

Strang, V.

Re-imagined Communities: a new ethical approach to water policy Thumbnail


V. Strang


C. Conca

E. Weinthal


Focusing on water as a connective material flow, this chapter reconsiders notions of community, agency, and identity from the perspective of contemporary debates on ecological ethics and relationality. By articulating the fluid relationships between humans, nonhumans, and the material world, these debates critique dominant conceptual assumptions about Nature and Culture as separate domains. Such assumptions continue to underpin water policy and management, casting ecosystems—and their dependent species—as the subjects of human action, with generally poor outcomes for their well-being. The chapter draws on actor-network theory, philosophical ideas about ethics, and analyses of materiality to propose a re-imagined model of “community” that reintegrates the human and nonhuman, and opens up the potential for more reciprocal—and thus more sustainable—human‒environmental relationships. In doing so, it proposes a new kind of “participatory” framework for water policy development.

Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2016
Publication Date Dec 5, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 28, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jan 26, 2017
Publisher Oxford University Press
Book Title The Oxford handbook of water politics and policy.
Public URL
Contract Date Mar 30, 2014


Accepted Book Chapter (366 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a draft of a chapter that was accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the book 'The Oxford Handbook of Water Politics and Policy' edited by Ken Conca and Erika Weinthal and published in 2016.

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