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The Jordan River Valley: Water Discourses And Basin Politics

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Amal Bourhrous (Clamart, France)


Keyword(s): Sub-theme 12: Transboundary river basins and shared aquifers,
AbstractThis study aims at making sense of the politics surrounding water in the Jordan River Basin. Specifically, it aims at mapping out the dominant discourses on the question of water and understanding how they are created. Based on the premise that discourses also contribute to the construction of the social world, it seeks to answer the question of how do the dominant discourses on water contribute to creating new or strengthening already existing relations of power domestically, as well as shaping attitudes and behaviors towards coriparians on regional and basin level. Using critical discourse analysis, the study aims at deconstructing the dominant water scarcity discourse. It shows how this discourse creates subjectivities in the Jordanian society by shaping attitudes and behaviors. The internalization of the water scarcity discourse entrenches the role of the state and political elites, which enables them to adopt positions in the Basin without a need for public debate.

This research is based on field work carried out in Amman, Jordan during the period between July and December 2014. It consisted of interviews with the main actors concerned by the water question, monitoring of major Jordanian newspapers, and public opinion surveys. 1. Allouche, Jeremy. (2005) "Water Nationalism: An Explanation of the Past and Present Conflicts in Central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent?" PhD Thesis.

2. Anderson, Betty S. (2005) Nationalist Voices in Jordan: The Street and the State. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

3. Haddadin, Munther J. (2002) Diplomacy on the Jordan: International Conflict and Negotiated Resolution. Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

4. Jgerskog, Anders. (2001) "The Jordan River Basin: Explaining Interstate Water Cooperation through Regime Theory," Occasional Paper no. 31, Water Issues Study Group, School of Oriental and African Studies.

5. Massad, Joseph A. (2001) Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press.

6. Putnam, Robert D. (1988) "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games." International Organization 42, no. 3, 427-60.

7. Sosland, Jeffrey K. (2007) Cooperating Rivals: The Riparian Politics of the Jordan River Basin. Albany: University of Albany Press.

8. Zeitoun, Mark. ( 2008) Power and Water in the Middle East: The Hidden Politics of the Palestinian-Israeli Water Conflict. London: I. B. Tauris.

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