December 15, 2008

Call for Papers


Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), defined by the Global Water Partnership as “a process which promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems,” (GWP TAC 2000) is a concept that has gained international attention since water experts and advocates worldwide convened and agreed upon the Dublin Principles in preparation for the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio deJaneiro.

The Dublin Principles promote awareness-raising among policy makers and the general public, taking decisions at the lowest appropriate level, full public consultation and involvement of users in planning and implementation of projects, empowering women to participate in water resources programs in self-defined ways, and recognizing the basic right of human beings to have affordable access to clean water and sanitation. The concept of IWRM that came forward from these principles has been understood as having normative and strategic value for providing a framework to achieve sustainable resource management, which in turn can be operationalized through different types of approaches. Nonetheless, at the center of IWRM’s strongly normative global discourse is an emphasis upon distinctly society-centric assumptions of how governance is carried out within a nation-state (Mollinga 2008).

Society-centric theories of the state rely on a number of assumptions: liberal individual-rights and the protection of those rights; the competition of individuals maximizing their self-interest as a driving economic and social force; and the neutral role of the state in regulating the free market to coordinate the allocation of resources, and in arbitrating between competing forces in society to achieve the common good. Given these assumptions concerning the relationship between government and society, any given policy can be traced back to demands placed upon the government by competing interest groups within the national political system – the source of authority for policy formulation inherently comes from within society.

The society-centric assumptions upon which IWRM policies tend to be based can serve as a methodological challenge within states where there is an empirical reality of state-centric processes. In such polities, the state has some level of autonomy from social and economic forces, and it is assumed to not be neutral in its relationships with organized interests. As such, any given policy can be traced to the active role of government officials seeking to maximize their individual economic welfare and power or to the constraining role of the state’s organizational structure. State-centric theories of the state see the state as an independent variable in explaining political and social events.

Since the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, there has been a push for all countries to adopt policies promoting IWRM. Authoritarian countries are obviously state-centric in their approach. A number of new democracies that have arisen since the end of the Cold War to satisfy domestic and donor pressure have established political hybrids, which Ottoway (2003) calls semi-authoritarian states. These regimes have deliberately combined the rhetoric of liberal democracy while allowing for little real political competition for power. Bell et al (1995) also discuss the phenomenon of Asian democratization as being “illiberal” in that these countries have promoted a non-neutral understanding of the state, with a technocracy managing the developing state as a corporate enterprise, while maintaining control over public space and civil society. Zakaria (1997, 2003) built upon this discussion, broadening its application outside of the Asian context by differentiating constitutional liberty (the protection of individual rights through a legal system that cannot be arbitrarily manipulated by government) from democracy (open, free, and fair elections). Many new democracies, he points out, have promoted the latter without developing the former, defining them as “illiberal democracies.”

A number of authoritarian and semi-authoritarian/illiberal-democratic nations have adopted institutional reforms within their water resources sectors. Such countries as China, Cuba, Egypt, Kyrgistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Uganda have been recognized for instituting national policies, strategies, and laws for water resources development and management, but are nonetheless resistant to fully embracing the society-centric aspects of IWRM reforms. In this Call for Papers, we are seeking to make sense of processes involved in authoritarian regimes with respect to water reforms, drawing from a broad set of cases. As such, we seek not to solve the issue, but rather to open up discussion and explore findings to-date for further analytic development. We are interested in historically and geographically contextualized case studies employing the following types of analysis:

• Actor-oriented analyses (Long and Van der Ploeg 1994) exploring the processes of state-centric regimes in adopting and/or implementing water (including IWRM) policies. This can involve an analysis of bureaucracy or leadership to understand how policy ideas are distilled and how decisions are made in a closed policy regime, bringing light to the policy process and structure-agency issues embedded in decision-making. Such an account of how the normative ideas of IWRM arrive, translate, and are carried out in the technocratic engineering-oriented water bureaucracies of closed regimes greatly informs the discussion.

• Given that the state is not a distinctive actor nor an entity in itself, but rather can be considered to be an ideological project (Abrams 1988), accounting for the resources, strategies, and limitations of non-state actors actively interested in promoting society-centric water policy processes (including IWRM), and their respective experiences and responses to the state-centric structures of governance aids in understanding the dynamics of the relationship between state and society in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes.

In discussing a set of such cases and the questions they present, we would like embark on developing a new vocabulary as well as an innovative set of ideas concerning how the analysis of water policy dynamics can be undertaken in state-centric water policy regimes, as frameworks incorporating society-centric assumptions seem to have clear limits.

The timeline for this Call for Papers is as follows:


January 20, 2009: Deadline for submission of abstracts of papers. Abstracts should be submitted to Anjali Bhat at

February 1, 2009: Selected authors invited to submit papers

March 24-25, 2009: Workshop on Water Policy, IWRM and Authoritarian Regimes
For enquiries or further details, please contact the Workshop organizers.
Peter P. Mollinga,
Anjali Bhat,
ZEF (Center for Development Research)
University of Bonn, Germany


Abrams, Philip. 1988. “Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State (1977)” Journal of Historical Sociology, 1(1): 58-89.

Belll, Daniel A., David Brown, Kanishka Jayasuriya, and David M. Jones. 1995. Towards Illiberal Democracy in Pacific Asia. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Grindle, Merilee S. 1989. “The New Political Economy: Positive Economics and Negative Politics. Policy, Planning and Research Working Papers. WPS 304. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

GWP TAC. 2000. “Integrated Water Resources Management.” Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) Background Papers No. 4. Stockholm, Sweden: Global Water Partnership.

Long, Norman and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg. 1994. “Heterogeneity, Actor and Structure: Towards a Reconstitution of the Concept of Structure”, in David Booth, (ed). Rethinking Social Development: Theory, Research and Practice. Harlow, Essex: Longman Scientific and Technical.

Mollinga, Peter P. 2008. “Water Policy – Water Politics.” In Waltina Scheumann, Susanne Neubert, and Martin Kipping (eds), Water Politics and Development Cooperation: Local Power Plays and Global Governance. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. Pp. 1-29.

Ottoway, Marina. Democracy Challenged: The Rise of Semi-Authoritarianism. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment ofr International Peace. 2003

Zakaria, Fareed. 1997. “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy.” Foreign Affiars. November.

Zakaria, Fareed. 2003. Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

November 18, 2008

Policy Forum:

Scaling Up Conservation Practices for

Natural Resource Commons in Africa

A Regional Meeting of the

International Association for the Study of Commons

The President Hotel, Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Thursday, 22 January 2009


Keynote Address:

Dr. Monde Mayekiso

Deputy Director General,

Marine and Coastal


South Africa

Keynote Address:

Mrs. Portia Segomelo

Deputy Director,

Department of

Environmental Affairs,


IASC Presidential Address:

Dr. Ruth Meinzen-Dick

Parallel Panel Sessions

Parallel Panel Sessions

Parallel Panel Sessions

Evening Event:

Launch of the Institute for

Poverty Land and Agrarian

Studies, University of the

Western Case

Afternoon Plenary Panel:

Addressing Historical

Discrimination through

Commons Policy

Discussant: Prof. Lungisile

Ntsebeza, University of

Cape Town

Afternoon Workshop:

Getting our Message to

Policy Makers, Community

Members and Activists

The objective of this Policy Forum is to share existing research and experiences in the governance of large scale natural resource commons across different ecosystem types in Africa. These include among others: coastal zones; arid grasslands; forests; savannas and forest patches; and floodplain ecosystems. The Policy Forum brings together researchers and policy makers to examine existing research on commons governance. The Policy Forum takes as its starting point the insight that addressing natural resource degradation in Africa means finding ways to identify reproduce and encourage positive practices of commons management across wide scales.


Dr. Lapologang Magole, Programme Committee Chair,
Harry Oppenheimer Okavanga Research Centre, University of Botswana

Dr. Mafaniso Hara, Organizing Committee Chair,
PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

Early Registration, before 1 December 2008, USD 180
Late Registration, USD 210
South African Student Registration, USD 25 (bring student card)
On Site Registration available from 08:30 on the 20th January 2009
Lunch is not included in the student registration fee

November 5, 2008


Property Rights and Sustainability: the evolution of property rights to meet the challenges of sustainability

Thursday 16 - Saturday 18, April 2009 at the University of Auckland.


This conference aims to stimulate debate about property rights and the objective
s of sustainability. The intention is to provide a forum to discuss how property rights and responsibilities may be applied or adapted in a way that addresses ecological problems in a more coherent and sustainable way.

The conference will consider the nature and function of property rights within the context of contemporary policy, law and ethical discourse. In particular, it will provide a basis for specific examination of how New Zealand can better respond to current problems including:
  • land use planning and land use change;
  • coastal and marine management;
  • water management;
  • forestry;
  • biodiversity;
  • climate change;
  • cultural heritage; and
  • corporate responsibility.
The target audience for this conference includes academics, law practitioners, judges, politicians, central and local government officers, planners, resource management professionals, members of NGOs, iwi authorities and students.


The conference will commence with a public address by Judge Christopher Weeramantry (former Vice President of the International Court of Justice) on the evening of 16 April. The two full days of the conference will begin with keynote and theme papers before the lunch break. Parallel sessions will be held in the afternoons following specific session topics developing the theme of the conference. The Programme will be available on the conference website once finalised.

Confirmed Keynote Conference Speakers:

Judge Christopher Weeramantry (Sri Lanka), Professor Eric Freyfogle (USA), Professor Ron Engel (USA), Professor Sharon Beder (Aust.), Professor Tony Arnold (USA).

Conference website:

Call for Papers:

The conference organisers welcome papers on the conference theme. Papers need not have a specific New Zealand focus. Key topics include (but are not limited) to the following:
  • Concepts of property rights and responsibilities;
  • Property rights in land and natural resources;
  • Managing of 'free' resources;
  • Land use;
  • Water management;
  • Climate change responses;
  • Marine environment;
  • Maori and indigenous concepts of property;
  • Heritage protection;
  • Coastal management;
  • Forestry;
  • Public access; and
  • Corporate responsibility.
Submission Process:
  1. Abstracts should be received by 1 December 2008.
  2. Abstracts must be of 250-300 words and contain the following information; a. Name, affiliation, postal address and email address;
    b. Title of paper;
    c. List of key words that best describe the paper; and
    d. For collaborative papers, the name of the presenter of the paper
  3. Please submit your proposal by email to in MSWord
  4. You will be notified of acceptance of your paper via email early January 2009.
Further Information

For conference information, contact the Conference Organiser - Jane Kilgour at For queries relating to the theme and content of the conference papers, please contact David Grinlinton ( or Prue Taylor (

Please note: Presenters will be responsible for their own conference expenses.
Registration details will be available on the conference website at:

October 30, 2008


Coriolis: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies is seeking English language scholarly manuscripts for publication in a new on-line, fully indexed journal published in conjunction with the National Maritime Digital Library, hosted at Mystic Seaport with support from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.

Named after the physical forces that drive global ocean currents and human activities on the seas, Coriolis welcomes studies in history, literature, art, music, archaeology, and environmental studies from researchers all over the world. The journal particularly seeks anglophonic manuscripts from scholars working outside the North Atlantic/North American regions, including Africa, the Indian Ocean basin, Australia, the Pacific basin, and South America. Papers that explore interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. Submitted manuscripts will be fully peer-reviewed by university faculty and researchers active in the manuscript's relevant field.

Coriolis will launch in February of 2009 and can be found at

For more information, contact:
Paul O'Pecko ( or Andrew German (
Mystic Seaport Museum

Section Editors:

Joshua Smith, Associate Professor of Humanities, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Arts (Literature, Art, Music):
Daniel Brayton, Assistant Professor of English and American Literatures, Middlebury College

Environmental Studies:
Matthew McKenzie, Assistant Professor of History, University of Connecticut

August 5, 2008

IASC Conference Discount Form

From Earthscan

Many thanks to everyone who came to visit our stand at the IASC 2008 conference earlier this month. We hope you found the event as enjoyable and productive as we did. A number of you who came to our stand expressed an interest in our books and took away a discount order form, but for those who didn't get the chance I thought I would upload a downloadable version of it to our website so you can still take advantage of our 20% conference discount until the 18th August expiry date.

Earthscan Title Information Flyer:

Earthscan 20% Discount Order Form

The easiest way to get your discount is to check the prices on the order forms above and then order your book/s through our website using the 20% discount voucher code: IASC08. Alternatively you can print and fill out the order form and post it back to us using the FREEPOST address specified on the form.

Andrew Miller
Marketing Assistant

July 30, 2008

World Resources Institute’s Release of the World Resources Report

The World Resources Report has long been a source of data and inspiration for researchers and practitioners focused on environmental management for local livelihoods and sustainability. IASC members have dedicated their attention to bettering the livelihoods of resource dependent populations engaged in the collective management and use of the commons around them. This year’s WRR report is dedicated improving the livelihoods of the most marginal.

Below is World Resources Institute’s announcement for the new 2008 report.

Strengthening the Poor’s Roots of Resilience

The newly-released World Resources 2008: Roots of Resilience report charts a path for how sustainable, nature-based enterprise can help the world’s 2 billion rural poor escape the cycle of poverty.

Today, 2.6 billion people live on less than $2 a day. 75 percent of people at the bottom of the economic pyramid live in rural areas and are dependent on natural resources for some or all of their subsistence. The rural poor face even tougher challenges ahead, as climate change threatens to destroy the ecosystems and natural resources on which they depend.

But World Resources 2008 finds that well-designed, community-based sustainable enterprises can improve the way the rural poor draw from their area’s natural resources. Ultimately, these programs can make their communities more resilient against climate change and the other economic, social, environmental challenges they will face.

World Resources 2008 was produced by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

The publication (PDF) is available online at:

Hardcopies can be purchased at:

July 22, 2008


As announced at the closing session of the conference last week, we now have a Flickr group to share photos from conferences and of commons issues. If you are already using Flickr, join the group at and contribute your photos.

If you are not using Flickr ( yet, but are interested in joining the group, you can sign in though Yahoo. If you do not have a Yahoo account, you can create one here. Once your account is created you can upload your photos to your own site and connect with other users to see their photos. To join the IASC group and to add your photos to the group photo pool, go to and click on “Join this group”.

The site is very self-explanatory, but if you do need help, you can take a tour that explains how the site works ( To make uploading of photos easier there are a number of software tools you can use.

Lastly, if you are concerned about copyright, note, that you can determine what level of rights you want to grant viewers for each photo from “all rights reserved” to a fairly open creative commons license. You can also keep photos private, so they are visible only to you or your friends or family).

I am looking forward to seeing many of your conference photos.



March 4, 2008

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
Bangalore, Darjeeling and New Delhi

Faculty positions in social sciences

Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), India, invites nominations and applications for two faculty positions in social sciences.

1. Conservation Governance and Policy: Candidates must have strong social science research experience in environment and conservation, with interests in policy analysis.

2. Social Sciences: Candidates must have strong social science research experience in environment and conservation, preferably with degrees in sociology, anthropology, political science, history or geography.

The appointments will be made at the level of Fellows or Senior Fellows, depending upon qualifications and experience. Short term visiting appointments of 3-6 months duration each are also feasible. Fellows and Senior Fellows are expected to build and lead independent research programmes, contribute to interdisciplinary research and teach in ATREE’s doctoral programme.

While applicants with a PhD in the social sciences are preferred, candidates with a masters’ degree and substantial research experience will also be considered.

These positions are endowed with grants from the Arghyam Foundation and The Ford Foundation and will be based in Bangalore.

ATREE, established in 1996, is a young, fast growing, dynamic organization that seeks to address pressing environmental challenges through interdisciplinary research and engagement with civil society, and policy makers. ATREE fosters autonomy, professional growth, diversity and gender equity at the work place. Thus women and persons from underprivileged groups are especially encouraged to apply. Salaries at ATREE are competitive and at par with other academic institutions in India. Salary for the advertised positions will depend upon qualifications and experience of the candidates.

Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. Applicants should write to the address below, enclosing their CVs, names of three referees, and a letter describing their professional goals over the next 5 years and how these goals fit with ATREE’s mission. Electronic submission of applications is preferred.


Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment

659, 5th 'A' Main Road

Hebbal, Bangalore 560024, India


February 1, 2008

University of Maine
College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture
School of Marine Sciences Job Opening

The School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine will hire a social scientist for a tenure-track position at the assistant professor level to start in fall 2008 in its marine policy and dual-degree programs ( We seek applications from social scientists with strong experience and interests in institutional approaches to the social sciences and the interface between the social and natural sciences. A Ph.D. or equivalent education is required. We expect the successful candidate to have an active research program in marine or coastal-zone issues and to direct at least part of his/her research program towards issues of concern to the state and its localities.

The successful applicant will teach in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, undertake a research program concerned with local, state, national and international marine policy issues, participate in policy issues of concern to localities, the state and broader areas, advise and direct graduate students in the marine policy and dual-degree programs, and develop active professional collaborations with faculty in the School of Marine Sciences and other relevant departments.

Applications should be comprised of a full CV, a selection of up to five (p)reprints, a list of four references and statements of research, service and teaching goals that demonstrate capacity to perform the above functions. Address queries and send application materials in .pdf format to If this format presents difficulties, mail hard copy to:
Sue Thibodeau
5706 Aubert Hall, Rm 360
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5706.

Review will begin on 3 January 2008.
Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2008.
The University of Maine is an EO/AA employer.