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Water as More than Commons or Commodity: Understanding Water Management Practices in Yanque, Peru

Journal article
Authors Malene Brandshaug
Published in Water Alternatives-an Interdisciplinary Journal on Water Politics and Development
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 538-553
ISSN 1965-0175
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 538-553
Language en
Keywords Water, water management, commodification, more-than-human commoning, uncommons, Andes, rights, privatization, politics, state
Subject categories Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources, Peace and development research

Abstract

Global warming, shrinking glaciers and water scarcity pose challenges to the governance of fresh water in Peru. On the one hand, Peru's water management regime and its legal framework allow for increased private involvement in water management, commercialisation and, ultimately, commodification of water. On the other hand, the state and its 2009 Water Resource Law emphasise that water is public property and a common good for its citizens. This article explores how this seeming paradox in Peru's water politics unfolds in the district of Yanque in the southern Peruvian Andes. Further, it seeks to challenge a commons/commodity binary found in water management debates and to move beyond the underlying hegemonic view of water as a resource. Through analysing state-initiated practices and practices of a more-than-human commoning - that is, practices not grounded in a human/nature divide, where water and other non-humans participate as sentient persons - the article argues that in Yanque many versions of water emerge through the heterogeneous practices that are entangled in water management.

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