Managing Global Water. Ethnography of Emerging Practices in the Anthropocene 
Elena Bougleux (University of Bergamo)
Nadia Breda (Università degli studi di Firenze (Italy))
Senate House - Torrington Room
Start time:
28 May, 2016 at 14:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

We compare practices of water consumption, recycle and optimization, enacted by different subjects worldwide to cope with the global water crisis. We consider the combination of new knowledge and traditional skills as emerging strategies, including rhetorical and political aspects of the discussion.

Long Abstract

Water is a primary resource, highly sensitive to the major environmental transformations induced by climate change. Water emergency is a key issue in the general resource crisis characterizing the Anthropocene (OECD 2014, UNESCO 2014). Freshwater consumption rates show a continuous increase (Steffen et al. 2007). The largest part of water global resources is exploited at industrial level, in energy production processes and agriculture. Smaller contributions to water consumption are due to private use and livelihoods. At the same time, main environmental crisis are directly connected with altered planetary water cycles, with severe consequences brought by the increase in droughts, floods, consumers' costs, rationing (Dove 2013, Hastrup 2009).

In this framework, the panel seeks to investigate in a comparative way the water management practices enacted by different subjects developed to cope with the emergencies of the water global crisis. The panel focuses on:

- the innovative, potentially sustainable strategies enhanced by large scale goods producers and small scale private consumers, combining new knowledge and traditional skills;

- detailed analysis of the entire water cycle, from extraction to use, recycle or discharge, focusing on the role played by technical and non-technical actors in proposing and shaping sustainable approaches;

- ethnographic analysis of the rhetorical and emotional relationship developed by consumers about the issue of water consumption' reduction, emphasizing the discrepancies between declared possibilities, completed projects, and effective success of sustainable water related initiatives;

- ethnographic accounts of the political dimensions involved in the water management global discussion related to sustainability issues.

Accepted papers: