Wednesday, October 20, 2010


EMPLOYMENT: Post-doc/Senior researcher: Water, Inequality and Social Mobilisation in the Crossroads Asia region

This research component undertakes comparative research on irrigation in the Crossroads region, ranging from the Amu Darya basin and Ferghana Valley in Central Asia to the mountain areas of North Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, to the Sindh/Punjab/Haryana border region of India and Pakistan. The Crossroads region’s irrigation, backbone of its rural economies, encompasses 1) mountain and hill irrigation; 2) valley irrigation. The former are often ‘community systems’: mostly small scale, river/stream diversion systems governed and managed by communities of users with much local autonomy. Sophisticated, but not necessarily equitable, land and water rights systems have developed defining irrigations’ institutional arrangements. These production systems are part of and carry strong local (clan, caste) identities and cultures of local independence. The latter, often large scale surface irrigation system in valleys and deltas, have played an important role in government rule and state formation in the region. This took serious form as part of colonial rule,
but the expansion of state-controlled surface irrigation post-1950 is unprecedented. Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world; India experienced a valley and delta irrigation based green revolution; Soviet rulers transformed the Central Asian landscapes and societies for irrigated cotton cultivation. In Afghanistan this form of rule was less pronounced because of landscape and water availability, and a political history of invasion, occupation and warfare.

The research will investigate:

  1. Struggles over local autonomy in water resources management: comparative analysis of the sustainability, decline and transformation of local irrigation systems in response to the incorporation of irrigation communities in broader development processes (expanding state rule, ecological degradation, violent conflict, social differentiation within the communities, changes in livelihood strategies), with a focus on articulation of community identities and in (in)equality narratives (state rule and small scale irrigation in Ferghana valley; farmer managed irrigation in North Afghanistan/Northwest Pakistan under violent conflict; Indian mountain irrigation and economic globalisation).
  2. Encounters at the state-water user interface in large scale irrigation: 1950 marks the beginning of rapid post-independence irrigation development in India and Pakistan and the start of intensive Soviet intervention in the agricultural production systems in Central Asia.

More information.

Deadline: November 5, 2010

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