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Full Access Introduction to Special Issue

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Introduction to Special Issue

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“Living Water”

image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Human life is both literally and metaphorically unthinkable without water, which permeates and enlivens every form of human activity. Water is equally important for all living organisms, flowing through plants, animals and humans, through places, river systems and ocean currents, and through the entire hydrological cycle, where it constitutes a fundamental aspect of the weather and climate. For many people water epitomizes the connections and integration of living processes: as the life-giving element enabling production and reproduction, and as a substance of community and belonging. However, the fluid qualities that enable water to connect mean that it can also be a major medium for pollution and a threat when overly abundant. And, being essential to all productive processes, it can readily become a means of control and domination. This special issue explores the ways the vitality of water is constituted, negotiated and used strategically in various socio-ecological contexts. How does water figure in experiences, narratives and symbols of living, creativity and healing, or in practices and discourses about pollution and destruction? In what ways can water be used to support or undermine particular power relations? How are ideas about “living water” articulated in property regimes, development projects and conservation strategies?

Affiliations: 1: a)Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, Uus-Sadama 5, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia, franz.krause@tlu.ee ; 2: b)Executive Director, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University, Cosin’s Hall Palace Green, Durham DH1 3RL, UK, veronica.strang@durham.ac.uk

10.1163/15685357-01702001
/content/journals/10.1163/15685357-01702001
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Human life is both literally and metaphorically unthinkable without water, which permeates and enlivens every form of human activity. Water is equally important for all living organisms, flowing through plants, animals and humans, through places, river systems and ocean currents, and through the entire hydrological cycle, where it constitutes a fundamental aspect of the weather and climate. For many people water epitomizes the connections and integration of living processes: as the life-giving element enabling production and reproduction, and as a substance of community and belonging. However, the fluid qualities that enable water to connect mean that it can also be a major medium for pollution and a threat when overly abundant. And, being essential to all productive processes, it can readily become a means of control and domination. This special issue explores the ways the vitality of water is constituted, negotiated and used strategically in various socio-ecological contexts. How does water figure in experiences, narratives and symbols of living, creativity and healing, or in practices and discourses about pollution and destruction? In what ways can water be used to support or undermine particular power relations? How are ideas about “living water” articulated in property regimes, development projects and conservation strategies?

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2013-01-01
2016-12-05

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