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Cultural Political Economy and critical water studies: An introduction to the Special Themed Section

Peter P. Mollinga
SOAS University of London, London, UK; pm35@soas.ac.uk

ABSTRACT: The attraction of taking a Cultural Political Economy (CPE) perspective in the analysis of questions related to water use, management and governance is threefold: (i) CPE is an effort to capture the multidimensionality of social dynamics by emphasising the cultural dimension of political economy and then investigating the internal relations of these different dimensions; (ii) CPE addresses both the structure and agency dimensions of social reproduction and transformation; it proposes a particular (strategic-relational) way of studying the two in an interlinked manner; (iii) the object of (most) CPE analysis – the state – is highly relevant to water studies, as the state is a, if not the, central actor in water governance and state action as regards water resources is increasingly set in the context of globalisation and neoliberalisation.

KEYWORDS: Critical water studies, Cultural Political Economy