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Social Engineering or Participatory Problem-solving? A Practitioner’s Perspective on Opportunities for Irrigation Co-management

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bruns, Bryan
Conference: Challenges and Opportunities for Applied Anthropology. Society for Applied Anthropology
Location: Memphis, TN
Conf. Date: March 26-29, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/10432
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): participatory development
polycentricity
institutional design
co-management
water users' associations
Abstract: "Bureaucratic programs for involving water users in irrigation governance are challenged by inherent conflicts, contradictions, and asymmetries of power and knowledge. Government aspirations for acquiescence or devolution falter in the face of complexity, contestation, and interdependence. Idealized narratives of orderly irrigation clash with the messy bricolage of practice. Nevertheless, participatory programs may open meaningful opportunities for negotiation, cooperation, and polycentric governance. Drawing on examples from Aceh, Java, Bali, and broader international experience, this paper examines tensions, lessons, and opportunities for adaptive co-management in irrigation."

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