Knowledge Others, Others’ Knowledge

The Need for a New Epistemology of Water

  • Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt The Australian National University
Keywords: Water, Epistemology, Rivers, Feminist Methods, Scientific Methods

Abstract

This paper examines the ways in which knowledge about water has conventionally been generated by modern water scientists and illuminates how this approach leaves out the diverse “ways of knowing” water and how scientism creates a trap of concrete evidential certainty. Through the example of a failed conversation, it questions the basic epistemological underpinnings of understanding water in modern scientific inquiries—the means of knowing rivers, and how they conflict with feminist epistemologies and fail to account for the “knowledge others” and “others’ knowledge”. The paper concludes with observations on why we need new epistemologies of water in the Anthropocene.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, The Australian National University

Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Room 3.25, JG Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ACTON, ACT 2601

References

Baghel, R., L. Stepan, and J. Hill. 2017. Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia: Epistemologies, Practices and Locales. London: Earthscan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315543161

Barry, A., and G. Born. 2013. Interdisciplinarity: Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences. London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203584279

Brouwers, R. 2013. “Revisiting Gender Mainstreaming in International Development. Goodbye to an Illusionary Strategy.” Working Paper Series/General Series, International Institute of Sciences, 556: 1–36. https://repub.eur.nl/pub/39504/wp556.pdf.

Castree, N. 2005. Nature. Abbingdon: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203448410

Castree, N. 2013. Making Sense of Nature: Representation, Politics and Democracy. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203503461

Code, L. 1981. “Is the Sex of the Knower Epistemologically Significant?” Metaphilosophy 12 (3–4): 267–276. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.1981.tb00760.x. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.1981.tb00760.x

Code, L. 2014. “Feminist Epistemology and the Politics of Knowledge: Questions of Marginality.” In The SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory, edited by M. Evans, C. Hemmings, M. Henry, H. Johnstone, S. Madhok, A. Plomien, and S. Wearing, 9–25. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

D’Souza, R. 2007. Drowned and Damned: Colonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195682175.001.0001

Daly, M. 2005. “Gender Mainstreaming in Theory and Practice.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 12 (3l): 433–450. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxi023 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxi023

de Sousa Santos, B. 2014. Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315634876

de Sousa Santos, B. 2016. “Epistemologies of the South and the Future.” From the European South 1: 17–29.

Eerdewijk, A., and T. Davids. 2014. “Escaping the Mythical Beast: Gender Mainstreaming Reconceptualised.” Journal of International Development 26 (3): 303–316. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.2947. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.2947

Ekers, M., and A. Loftus. 2012. “Revitalizing the Production of Nature Thesis: A Gramscian Turn?” Progress in Human Geography 37 (2): 234–252. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132512448831. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132512448831

Harding, S. 1986. The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Jasanoff, S. 2004. “Ordering Knowledge, Ordering Society.” In States of Knowledge: The Co-production of Science and Social Order, edited by S. Jasanoff, 13–45. London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203413845

Lahiri-Dutt, K. 1999. “Imagining Rivers.” Economic and Political Weekly 35 (27): 2395–2397. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4409472.

Lahiri-Dutt, K. 2006. Fluid Bonds: Views on Gender and Water. Kolkata: Stree.

Lahiri-Dutt, K. 2015. “Towards a More Comprehensive Understanding of Rivers.” In Living Rivers, Dying Rivers, edited by R. Iyer, 421–434. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Lave, R. 2015. “The Future of Socio-ecological Expertise.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105 (2): 244–252. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2014.988099

Linton, J. 2010. What Is Water? The History of a Modern Abstraction. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Massey, D. 2005. For Space. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Mehta, L., A. Huff, and J. Allouche. 2019. “The New Politics and Geographies of Scarcity.” Geoforum 101 (May): 222–230. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.10.027. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.10.027

Mukhopadhyay, M. 2014. “Mainstreaming Gender or Reconstituting the Mainstream? Gender Knowledge in Development.” Journal of International Development 26 (3): 356–367. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.2946. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.2946

Plewa, T. M. 2010. “Rivers.” In Encyclopedia of Geography, edited by B. Warf, 2472–2477. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Roberts, L., and K. Philips. 2019. Multidisciplinary Understandings of Human–Water Relationships. London: Earthscan.

Schmidt, J. J. 2017. Water: Abundance, Scarcity and Security in the Age of Humanity. New York: New York University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt1ggjjbf

Schumm, S. A. 1977. The Fluvial System. New York and London: John Wiley & Sons.

Sjolander-Lindqvist, A. 2005. “Conflicting Perspectives on Water in a Swedish Railway Tunnel Project.” Environmental Values 14 (2): 221–239. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3197/0963271054084920

Staudt, K. 2003. “Gender Mainstreaming: Conceptual Links to Institutional Machineries.” In Mainstreaming Gender, Democratizing the State? National Machineries, edited by S. M. Rai, 40–66. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203786680-2

Strang, V. 2010. “Water, Culture and Power: Anthropological Perspectives from ‘Down Under’.” Insights, Journal of the Institute of Advanced Study 3 (4): 2–26.

Stuart, N. 2007. “Technology and Epistemology: Environmental Mentalities and Urban Water Usage.” Environmental Values 16 (4): 417–431. https://doi.org/10.3197/096327107X243213. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3197/096327107X243213

Swyngedouw, E. 2006. “Circulations and Metabolisms: (Hybrid) Natures and (Cyborg) Cities.” Science as Culture 15 (2): 105–121. https://doi.org/10.1080/09505430600707970. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09505430600707970

Walby, S. 2005. “Gender Mainstreaming: Productive Tensions in Theory and Practice.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 12 (3): 321–343. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxi018. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxi018

Published
2020-07-16
Section
Special Section: New Epistemologies of Water in India