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Watershed Politics and Climate Change in Peru

Watershed Politics and Climate Change in Peru

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 Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), an extractivist global water paradigm that views water as a finite resource in need of management.

Where the local bureaucracy has adapted to IWRM and a new water culture is being fostered amongst the population, Stensrud examines the tensions arising between 'indigeneity' and 'modernity', between cultural practices and questions of power.

Engaging with the many different actors and entities participating in the constitution of the watershed - from engineers, politicians and bureaucrats, to farmers, workers and animals - Stensrud shines light on how both the watershed and our understanding of water itself have changed over the last few decades. Methodologically innovative, Watershed Politics and Climate Change in Peru makes an original contribution to the scholarship on global-local relationships.

Astrid B. Stensrud is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, as part of the research project 'Overheating: the three crises of globalisation'. Since 2001, she has done extensive ethnographic research in the Peruvian Andes. She has recently published several journal articles and book chapters on climate change, water and neoliberalism, for publications including Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology.

'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

1. Introducing the Watershed
2. Engineering Waterflows
3. Colonizing the Desert
4. Water Payments
5. Water Uncertainties
6. Water Legibility
7. Water Efficiency
8. Water Ownership
9. Conclusion: What Makes the Water Flow?
Published by Pluto Press in Jul 2021
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745340203
eBook ISBN: 9781786807571

224 pages

135mm x 215mm