This paper explores potential contributions of narrative ethics to the re-theorization of the political in water governance, particularly seeking to rectify concerns regarding when water is excluded from cultural contexts and issues of power and dominance are ignored. Against this background, this paper argues for a re-theorization of the political in water governance, understood as the way in which diverse ideas about possible and desirable human-water relationships and just configurations for their institutionalization are negotiated in society. Theorization is conceived as the concretization of reality rather than its abstraction. Narrative ethics deals with the narrative structure of moral action and the significance of narrations for moral action. It occupies a middle ground and mediates between descriptive ethics that describe moral practices, and prescriptive ethics that substantiate binding norms. A distinguishing feature is its focus on people’s experiences and their praxis. Narrative water ethics is thus able to recognize the multitude of real and possible human-water relationships, to grasp people’s entanglement in their water stories, to examine moral issues in their cultural contexts, and, finally, to develop locally adapted notions of good water governance.
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