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Watershed Politics and Climate Change in Peru

Watershed Politics and Climate Change in Peru

by Astrid B. Stensrud

Series: Anthropology, Culture and Society

A critique of the global emphasis on water’s economic value and extractivist policies, based on an ethnography of a watershed in Peru

This book travels to the heart of power, inequality and injustice in water politics. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Peru, Astrid B. Stensrud explores the impact of climate change and extractivist neoliberal policies – including Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), a global paradigm that views water as a finite resource in need of management.

Engaging with the many different actors and entities participating in the constitution of the watershed – from engineers, bureaucrats and farmers, to mountains, springs and canals – Stensrud shines light on different yet entangled water practices and water worlds and how both the watershed and our understanding of water itself have changed.

Challenging hegemonic understandings, the book moves beyond conventional perspectives of political ecology and political economy to achieve a decolonial perspective.

Astrid B. Stensrud is Associate Professor at the Department of Global Development and Planning, University of Agder. She is the co-editor of Climate, Capitalism and Communities (Pluto, 2019) and a contributor to Waterworlds (Berghahn, 2016) and Identity Destabilised (Pluto, 2016).

'This superb ethnography invites us to 'slow down' the assumption that water is either a resource or a vital force and attend to how its multiplicity implies a politics of entangled worldings. This book will change how you think about the politics of water!'

- Mario Blaser, Associate Professor of Archaeology, Memorial University, Canada

'Though many recent researchers have examined water through a climate change lens, this highly original book is distinctive in examining climate change through a water lens'

- Ben Orlove, anthropologist and Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, New York

'This book expresses the power of ethnography. Using her kaleidoscopic notions, Astrid Stensrud presents an analysis of a politics of water that empirically emerging from multiple worlds to transform political ecology and political economy into pluriversal analytics'

- Marisol de la Caden, Professor of Anthropology at UC-Davis, California and author of 'Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice Across Andean Worlds' (Duke, 2015)

'An exemplary ethnographic analysis that, focusing on 'waterworlds' in Peru, illuminates the many and diverse ways that people conceptualise and value water, engage with water, and compose human and non-human relationships through water'

- Professor Veronica Strang FAcSS, Executive Director of Durham University's Institute of Advanced Study and author of 'Water, Culture and Nature' (Reaktion Press 2015)

'A powerful engagement with contemporary anthropological debates on the heterogeneity of water. Working with a multiplicity of water practices, Stensrud makes a compelling case for recognizing the intrinsic value of remaining open to difference in the face of climate change'

- Professor Penny Harvey, University of Manchester

Maps and Figures
List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
List of Words in Quechua and Spanish
Series Preface
Introduction: Water and Watershed Politics
1. Engineering Water Flows
2. Colonising the Desert
3. Water Payments
4. Water Uncertainties and Disasters
5. Water Efficiency
6. Legible and Illegible Water
7. Owning Water
Conclusion: Water Multiplicity

Published by Pluto Press in Jul 2021
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745340203
eBook ISBN: 9781786807571

135mm x 215mm