Institutions and Conflict: Communal Water Management in North-West Namibia
In the context of recent legal developments in Namibia promoting the common based management of water resources, the main focus of the project underlying this paper was to gain a detailed impression of how the rural communities in the country were dealing with the development of institutional arrangements for the water access and usage. Based on an anthropological fieldwork this paper aims to describe and to analyse the conflict over water a rural community in North-West Namibia is confronted with. From a theoretical perspective, the objective of this paper is to analyse the role of power in the development of institutions by means of Knight’s (1992) bargaining theory of institutional development. This paper concludes that the case study provides important evidence that the development of institutions at the local level can be the by-product of a strategic conflict and not the result of the users’ attempts to achieve collective goals, as frequently assumed by the mainstream communal natural resource management theory.
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