Call for papers, next spring, Chicago! Fetishes of water governance

We’re putting together sessions on water governance for the 2015 Association of American Geographer’s conference in Chicago. Details below on the session themes, feel free to circulate and to contribute!

Organizers:
Jeremy J. Schmidt, Dalhousie University (Canada)
Oriol Mirosa, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (USA)
Raul Pacheco-Vega, Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas, CIDE (Mexico)

Water governance has gained widespread popularity in the last decade among scholars of various disciplines. As a concept, “water governance” is being used to re-organize how we approach the challenges posed by resource scarcity and security, and to overcome the weaknesses of the previous dominant paradigm: water management. However, the apparent flexibility of governance is marred by the reified use of concepts that are remnants of the water management approach and its pursuit of rational planning, integrated water resources management (IWRM), and state-led regional development. The continued adherence to these fetishes can hinder our understanding of what governing water entails.

This session seeks contributions that investigate the fetishes of water governance and their effects. The fetishes include, but are not limited to, a pre-occupation with: (1) borders (i.e. watershed boundaries, nation-state limits and sub-national legal jurisdictions), (2) strictly defined sectors (public, private), (3) urban versus rural water divides and, (4) technologies of water from the technical/scientific to the political/economic. We believe that it is interesting to think not only about the problems generated by the reification of concepts and approaches to water governance, but also to analyze why this fetishizing happens and what functions it has. As such, we invite submissions that explore the fetishes as such, their influence on praxis, and in our understanding of water-related topics such human rights to water and sanitation, the hydrosocial cycle, watershed governance, energy production/extraction, infrastructure, technology and social inequality. The panel seeks to explore the limitations of these conceptual and analytical categories in explaining, and ultimately, helping design robust water policy.

If interested in participating, please e-mail all three organizers – jeremy(.)john(.)schmidt(@)gmail(.)com, mirosa(@)uwm(.)edu and raul(.)pacheco(-)vega(@)cide(.)edu) – an abstract of your proposed panel, a short bio or link to your web profile, and a brief statement of how your work fits with the general theme of the panel no later than 9pm (EST), October 28th, 2014. We will announce the chosen abstracts on November 1st, 2014.

Please circulate as you see fit. Thanks!

Jeremy J. Schmidt, Oriol Mirosa and Raul Pacheco-Vega

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