Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bridging divides for water? Dialogue and access at the 5th world water forum

Published Web Location

http://www.water-alternatives.org/index.php/alldoc/articles/vol4/v4issue3/151-a4-3-9/file
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

The 5th World Water Forum was officially presented as a deliberative democracy where diverse stakeholders could gather to talk about water. However, the conference was marred by significant conflict, ranging from audience complaints to protests, and to alternative political declarations. This paper explores why a Forum designed to 'Bridge Divides for Water' (the official theme) was so contentious that participants were unable to reach any sort of consensus. I explore four hypothesised mechanisms by which the Forum itself counteracted the possibility of Bridging Divides and creating constructive dialogue. First, I argue that, because of cost, security and size, the Forum made many participants feel unable to fully access the Forum and share their opinions. Second, I suggest that the programmatic structure of the Forum promoted simplified ways of talking about water that made translation between perspectives difficult. Third, I contend that the physical space where Forum deliberations occurred institutionalised unequal social arrangements, making certain viewpoints more audible than others. Fourth, I demonstrate that the Turkish host government actively masked contestation to present a 'civilised' Forum to the world.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item