The dynamics of socio-environmental conflict within the changing contexts of common pool resources : the case of water management in the Jordan Valley
This research adopts a framework that offers an understanding of conflict over environmental resources as a broader manifestation of social processes embodying dynamic socio-political, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions. It focuses on understanding change in the management of common pool resources as part of historical transformations articulated by the presence of conflicts within seemingly harmonious historical periods and permanent systems. Using the water management in the Jordan Valley, the thesis follows the transformation of the construction of water as natural resource embedded within the broader dynamics of socio-environmental conflict; within the Jordan Valley in the beginnings of the 20th century, until its construction as a scarcity problem in Jordan's pursuit of integration within the neo-liberal global economic system. Following the historical turning points of the management of water resources in Jordan, this research offers a dialectic understanding of the various aspects of social processes and how alterations to them shape and are shaped by the changing contexts and the dynamics of socio-environmental conflict. The research revealed how East Gbor Canal project in the 1950s evolved and took shape within the pre-existing context of hierarchical power and social relations. Over the following four decades, the institutions established through the project became new fields for the exercise of power by the conventional privileged, leaving small farmers, including Palestinian refugees and female farmers excluded from the negotiation and decision-making forums within which the water policy strategies are outlined today. Consequently, those farmers are the most adversely affected by the changes in the water policy and revert to various forms of resistance and adaptation which are also dedicated by those farmers' social positionality and perception of themselves within the current power and social hierarchies.