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9 Middle E. L. & Governance 1 (2017)

handle is hein.journals/measterna9 and id is 1 raw text is: 
                                                               MIDDLE EAST
            MIDDLE  EAST LAW AND  GOVERNANCE  9 (2017) 1-2        LAWAND
BRILL                                                         brillcom/melg

                      Editors'   Introduction

Environmental  issues and climate change have become, not only major points
of political dispute, but have also called for new approaches in the social sci-
ences to account for systemic challenges that cross the accepted borders of
social science disciplines. In the Middle East and North Africa, issues of the
environment  become  particularly complex due to political instability, inter-
national intervention, regional conflicts, and the rise of trans-national armed
groups. While recent scholarship on Middle East and North Africa has focused
on social movements  in light of what many have dubbed The Arab Spring,
that same  period witnessed considerable violence and correlatively, exten-
sive demographic displacement  (internally and across borders). These recent
population displacements, coupled with the associated difficulty of access-
ing scarce resources, have generated what has been called a water security
   In a special call for proposals, MELG invited scholars and policy research-
ers to address what many alternatively call water security and water sover-
eignty in the Middle East and North Africa. Assuming the state as a principle
actor in natural resource management,  water security regards water as a
scarce resource for which need all too often increases in contexts of crises,
demographic  shifts, and climate variations. However, the primacy of the state
in managing water as a resource is also a point of contest among some. This
tension is manifest in their preference for the phrase water sovereignty,
which recognizes the role of informal actors and opens the analysis to distinct
questions about formal and informal management,  local/regional/or central-
ized control-questions  that allow for an interrogation of the state itself. In
other words, water is both an object of analysis and an analytic vehicle through
which to assess governance policies, whether by formal state actors or informal
parties and social groups. Moreover, more than mere object to be regulated or
analytic vehicle for reflecting on governance, water can also exercise a kind of
agency that, in its capacity to create and destroy, exercises power over human

© KONINKLIJKE BRILL NV, LEIDEN, 2017  DOI 10.1163/18763375-00901004

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