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Ecologie et savoirs sur l'eau
Une ressource naturelle pour l'agriculture

Jeudi 14 février 2019

L'accès à l'eau et la pollution des eaux en milieu urbain est une question cruciale, mais que nous ouvrirons ultérieurement. Nous limitons cette année notre présentation à l'écologie de l'eau et aux savoirs de l'eau en milieu rural, et, de façon plus restrictive encore faute de temps, à un volet particulier de ce dossier: la gestion politique des droits d'accès aux ressources naturelles pour l'agriculture.

En préambule,, je confronterai les représentations traditionnelles aux idées contemporaines et aux questions politiques et juridiques que soulèvent la collecte, la conservation et l'utilisation de l'eau dans le contexte écologique et économique d'aujourd'hui. L'ambiguïté est inévitable entre une ressource que l'on peut s'approprier et un bien commun que l'on doit respecter.

Ramaswamy R. Iyer, Water. Perspectives, Issues, Concerns,
New Delhi, Sage, 2003, Chapter 7, pp.77-81.

Water is perceived by different people (or by the same people in different contexts) in different ways: as a commodity, as commons, as a basic right and as a sacred resource or divinity. Often when we are under the strong influence of one perception, other perceptions seem quite wrong. For instance, those who regard water as 'commons' or a 'common pool resource' tend to deny vehemently that it is a commodity. Contrariwise, those who see water as a commodity are often blind to the other dimensions of water. The truth is that we can say many things about water and be right. Commodity, commons, basic right, divinity: all these are partial perceptions; all are valid; we need all of them to understand the roles that water plays in our lives. We need to be aware that what is true of one of the multiple dimensions or aspects of water may not hold for another. Unfortunately, at any given time, one or more partial perceptions tend to dominate our thinking, and thus leads us into drawing wrong conclusions and formulating wrong prescriptions.

Je définirai donc, dans la perspective du public éclairé en Inde aujourd'hui, ces quatre dimensions d'un statut juridique de l'eau et des règles d'accès à la ressource en eau qui en découlent: l'esau est une marchandise (commodity), une chose commune (commons), un droit fondamental (basic right), une ressource sacrée (divinity).

Cependant, sans négliger les travaux des politologues, économistes et juristes qui dominent la question de la gestion de l'eau (water management), notre angle d'approche est celui de l'anthropologie, de l'ethnographie et de l'ethnohistoire. Illustrations prises dans le beau livre de David Mosse, The Rule of Water.

Texte à l'appui du séminaire

Bibliothèque Ganapati:
Anthropologists > Mosse (David)

David Mosse, The Rule of Water. Statecraft, Ecology, and Collective Action in South India, New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2003.

Lectures sur la mousson

Bibliothèque Ganapati:
Places > Monsoon

Francis Zimmermann, Monsoons in traditional culture, in J. Fein and P. Stephens, Eds., Monsoons, New York, Wiley Interscience, 1987: 51–76.

Francis Zimmermann, Mousson — Anthropologie, Encyclopaedia universalis, Paris, 1990, Volume 15: 857–861.

Robert Markley, Monsoon Cultures: Climate and Acculturation in Alexander Hamilton's A New Account of the East Indies, New Literary History 38, 2007: 527–550.

Lectures sur l'irrigation

Bibliothèque Ganapati:
Places > Dams and tanks

J. Stephen Lansing, Priests and Programmers. Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali, Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 1991.

David Mosse, The Symbolic Making of a Common Property Resource: History, Ecology and Locality in a Tank-irrigated Landscape in South India, Development and Change, Vol.28 (1997), pp.467–504.

David Mosse, Colonial and Contemporary Ideologies of 'Community Management': The Case of Tank Irrigation Development in South India, Modern Asian Studies, Vol.33, No.2 (May, 1999), pp.303–338.

Esha Shah, Social Designs: Tank Irrigation Technology and Agrarian Transformation in Karnataka, South India. Thesis, Wageningen University (Netherlands), 12 June 2003. Published by Orient Longman, Hyderabad, India in the Wageningen University Water Resources Series. ISBN 81-250-2509-X

Esha Shah, Telling Otherwise: A Historical Anthropology of Tank Irrigation Technology in South India, Technology and Culture 49, July 2008, pp.652–674.

Andrew M. Bauer and Kathleen D. Morrison, Water Management and Reservoirs in India and Sri Lanka, in Heleine Selin, Ed., Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, 2nd ed., Dordrecht, Springer, 2008.

Kathleen D. Morrison, Dharmic Projects, Imperial Reservoirs, and New Temples of India An Historical Perspective on Dams in India, Conservation & Society, Vol.8, No.3 (2010), pp.182–195.

Georgina Drew, Mountain Women, Dams, and the Gendered Dimensions of Environmental Protest in the Garhwal Himalaya, Mountain Research and Development, Vol.34, No.3, Gender and Sustainable Development in Mountains — Transformative Innovations, Tenacious Resistances (Aug 2014), pp.235–242.

Kathleen D. Morrison, Archaeologies of flow: Water and the landscapes of Southern India past, present, and future, Journal of Field Archaeology, 40:5 (2015): 560–580.