Headline: I Want to Tell You a Story. How Narrative Water Ethics Contributes to Re-theorizing Water Politics

This paper explores potential contributions of narrative ethics to the re-theorization ofthe political in water governance, particularly seeking to rectify concerns regarding when wateris excluded from cultural contexts and issues of power and dominance are ignored. Against thisbackground, this paper argues for a re-theorization of the political in water governance, understoodas the way in which diverse ideas about possible and desirable human-water relationships and justconfigurations for their institutionalization are negotiated in society. Theorization is conceived as theconcretization of reality rather than its abstraction. Narrative ethics deals with the narrative structureof moral action and the significance of narrations for moral action. It occupies a middle groundand mediates between descriptive ethics that describe moral practices, and prescriptive ethics thatsubstantiate binding norms. A distinguishing feature is its focus on people’s experiences and theirpraxis. Narrative water ethics is thus able to recognize the multitude of real and possible human-waterrelationships, to grasp people’s entanglement in their water stories, to examine moral issues in theircultural contexts, and, finally, to develop locally adapted notions of good water governance.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Monographs and Edited Volumes

Meisch, S. (2019). I Want to Tell You a Story. How Narrative Water Ethics Contributes to Re-theorizing Water Politics. In L. M. Harris, S. H. Shah, N. J. Wilson, & J. Nelson (Eds.), Water Governance. Retheorizing Politics (pp. 306-324). Basel: MDPI AG.

Projects involved
Democratic Governance for Ecopolitical Transformations