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Social learning within participatory, catchment-based water management processes in South Africa and Namibia.

Brown, Helen (2010) Social learning within participatory, catchment-based water management processes in South Africa and Namibia. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Over the past decade, South African and Namibian governments have initiated processes of water-sector reform via new legislation (RSA, 1998; GRN, 2004), designed to promote increased equity, efficiency and economic and environmental sustainability of water resources. These objectives correspond to those of the discourse of integrated water resource management (Heyns, 2005; Woodhouse, 2008). Institutional reform is a key feature of the recent legislation. Participatory institutions are being formed, which are aligned to hydrological spatial units, such as water-user associations and basin management committees. These institutional spaces represent 'communities' of learning (Wenger, 1998; Johnson, 2007), and synergise with the concept of 'social learning' that links collective interaction and learning to concerted action in the collective and environmental interest (Roling & \Vagemakers, 1998; Keen et al., 2005; Pahl-\Vostl et al., 2007a; Ison et al., 2007). Drawing on the 'constant comparison' principle of grounded theory (Glaser, 1992), the thesis explores this concept of social learning using two case studies: the South African Kat River Water User Association (KatRWUA) and the Namibian Kuiseb Basin Management Committee (KuisebBMC). A multi-method research approach was used to elicit qualitative information, with data-collection methods including semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observation and secondary data sources (Denzin & Lincoln, 2002). Subsequent data analysis revealed a mismatch between the nature and outcomes of social learning processes within the case studies and the ideals of socially and environmentally sustainable behaviour, which are desired by both the integrated water-resource management discourse and by the South African and Namibian national Water Acts. Social learning, as a process for achieving these goals of social equity and sustainable social behaviour, was prevented by the five Ps: power relations, politics, personality, precedence, and the past.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.511952
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2016 15:35
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2016 15:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14958

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