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Sustainable Webs Of Interests: Property In An Interconnected Environment

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Chapter Summary

With the aim of contributing to anthropological debates about ownership and appropriation, this chapter proposes several related ideas. Drawing on the anthropological canon, and on recent ethnographic research, the chapter explores such alternate ways of owning. It describes that they constitute a range of counter-claims to exclusive legal constructions of water ownership, and suggests that such claims enable democratic involvement in political processes. Thus, the materiality of land ownership remains the most certain way of holding water, insofar as local ecosystems continue to provide supplies. Australia's regional and larger catchment management groups were established partly to reconcile these divergent interests and to balance public and private control over land and water resources through co-management. The research on which this chapter is based suggests that the persistence of these notions is partly because water itself defies imaginative compartmentalization and containment.

Keywords:Australia; catchment management; counter-claims; water ownership



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