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Discourses in hydropolitics: why and how? A new conceptual framework for understanding the interplay between transboundary waters and politics through discourses

PublisherBudapest, Hungary : Eötvös Loránd University
EditionConference on Transboundary Waters in IR (TWIR)
Publication date2021
Abstract

We are witnessing blooming initiatives for the measuring and monitoring of hydropolitical tensions. The rationale is straightforward: to get ahead of the crises curve, we need to identify potential water conflict hotspots. This, in turn, is achieved by using a wide range of quantitative indicators – from precipitation patterns and water use to demographic trends – and new data analytic techniques such as machine learning and remote sensing. Yet, the likelihood and intensity of tensions related to water resources rise as the rate of change within a basin exceeds the institutional capacity to absorb that change. In other words, hydropolitics is also about institutional arrangements, actors and agendas, and thus qualitative analysis should remain a major component for hydropolitics research. We build on recent calls for more research on the role of discourses in shaping hydropolitics and propose a new conceptual framework, inspired by critical discourse theory, for a systematic discursive approach to hydropolitics. The added value of our framework is two-fold. First, our framework identifies four categories of discourses – dominant, institutionalized, hegemonic, and sanctioned – and their underlying processes, enabling a more structured and systematic analysis of the dynamics shaping hydropolitics. Second, we embed our framework in a broader research approach combining global and in-depth analysis to better understand the key triggers leading to cooperation and tensions over transboundary waters.

Keywords
  • Hydropolitics
  • Discourses
  • Transboundary waters
Citation (ISO format)
EZBAKHE, Fatine, BRETHAUT, Christian. Discourses in hydropolitics: why and how? A new conceptual framework for understanding the interplay between transboundary waters and politics through discourses. Conference on Transboundary Waters in IR (TWIR). Budapest, Hungary : Eötvös Loránd University, 2021.
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Proceedings (Published version)
accessLevelPublic
Identifiers
  • PID : unige:151328
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