Not about water - local discourse and social dynamics around a small reservoir failure
(University of Bonn)
Taking household water as the entry point to write an ethnography on a rural agro-pastoral society in Northern Ghana (Nankane) proved to be a suitable central theme to investigate social stratification, property rights, knowledge fragmentation, livelihood diversification and political economy of poverty. The history of resource rights, the organization of resource allocation since the 1970s, as well as the effect of missionary, state and development interventions on a particular small town and its people allow general insights to on-going processes of change and diversification. For water is omnipresent, it was taken as a matrix to document local perceptions, values, social dynamics, negotiations and conflict. The presentation intends to briefly outline the theoretical starting points of this work and to provide an example of a polyphone discourse around a small reservoir failure.
Engaging resources: anthropological perspectives on the formation and contestation of natural resource environments