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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2016 → Encounters at the Water Point – An Ethnography of the Travelling Model of Community-based Water Management and its Application to Rural Water Supply in Namibia

Universität zu Köln. (2016)

Encounters at the Water Point – An Ethnography of the Travelling Model of Community-based Water Management and its Application to Rural Water Supply in Namibia

Kelbert, Thekla

Titre : Encounters at the Water Point – An Ethnography of the Travelling Model of Community-based Water Management and its Application to Rural Water Supply in Namibia

Auteur : Kelbert, Thekla

Université de soutenance : Universität zu Köln.

Grade : Doktorgrades der Philosophischen Fakultät der Universität zu Köln 2016

Résumé partiel
The study takes an anthropological perspective on a globalized political environment – more particularly on the fields of global environmental governance and development cooperation and their interplay with national and local arenas and actors. I offer an anthropological account of the rise of the global environmental governance agenda, of the international arenas where it has been generating debates and joint decisions, and of their consequences for national politics and local resource management regimes in the Global South. Furthermore, this study contributes observations and findings on how ideas, discourses, and processes at different scales affect the emergence and change of local institutions. The connecting thread underlying my account is based on the way in which natural resource management concepts and models emerge on the international scene of water experts, policy-makers, and practitioners, and how the models travel between international, national, regional, and local scales, being translated and transformed during their travelling. Having applied the concept of travelling models previously elaborated by a group of anthropologists and other social scientists to my particular case, to the field work I did, and to the documents I collected, I draw some conclusions from my own experiment, following ethnographically a travelling model of community-based water management across scales and between locations. The main contribution of the study at hand is to devise and refine ways of grasping the dynamics behind discourses and blueprint-like models at different scales, conceptually and methodologically. My account serves to demonstrate the potential of the travelling models approach in ethnography and anthropological analysis, especially by focusing on the travelling of a particular model for local behaviour in situations of connectivity between actors from different spheres and scales, and in interactions of representatives of the state with civil society organizations and of both of these with local individuals and groups. This study meets the challenge of not only concentrating on the local consequences of global tendencies as others have done before, but also of applying the toolbox of anthropological methods to scenarios where ‘the global’ becomes tangible, and to the spaces of connectivity, movement, and friction in between the different scales. In so doing, the aim has been to also test the theoretical paradigm of ‘travelling models’ based on researchers from STS and ANT, and applied to other ethnographic contexts more recently by a group of mainly Germany-based anthropologists, and to identify some of the advantages and limitations it has to offer. I demonstrate by an exemplary case how such a standardized model for the management of rural water supply, prescribed by the state and introduced at the water points by a group of external actors, emerges from and is influenced by discourses and actors at the national and global level.

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