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Collaborative Action and Social Organization in Remote Rural Regions: Autonomous Irrigation Arrangements in the Pamirs of Tajikistan

Institute of Geographical Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstr. 74-100, House K, 12249 Berlin, Germany
Water 2020, 12(10), 2905; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102905
Received: 31 August 2020 / Revised: 10 October 2020 / Accepted: 14 October 2020 / Published: 17 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Irrigation Strategies for Sustainable Water Management)
This paper proposes a bottom–up “nexus medium” perspective to examine and understand social organization and how socio-ecological challenges in remote rural regions are dealt with in communities that receive only limited external support. While “nexus mediums” constitute substances, matter, or objects that combine manifold vital meanings and can be seen as socially constructed and materialized arenas of social interaction, autonomous resource management is seen as a means of local social organization. Taking water as the nexus medium of choice allows us to generate locally informed insights about the role of this scarce resource for the everyday life and social organization of communities inhabiting arid rural areas. This reasoning will be exemplified by three local case studies conducted during empirical research in the Pamirs of Tajikistan utilizing a mix of qualitative methods. The findings reveal how many fundamental everyday-life-related aspects and activities of the studied communities are related to water, and how these communities are organized around common water use and management arrangements that are based on joint decision-making, shared benefits and responsibilities, and collaborative action. The “nexus medium” concept appears to be an appropriate approach for research that seeks to understand from a local perspective how communal living is organized and how socio-ecological challenges are addressed. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative action; community-based natural resource management (CBNRM); irrigation agriculture; water; nexus medium; high mountains; Gorno-Badakhshan; Central Asia; Tajikistan collaborative action; community-based natural resource management (CBNRM); irrigation agriculture; water; nexus medium; high mountains; Gorno-Badakhshan; Central Asia; Tajikistan
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Dörre, A. Collaborative Action and Social Organization in Remote Rural Regions: Autonomous Irrigation Arrangements in the Pamirs of Tajikistan. Water 2020, 12, 2905.

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