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Cultivating the Nile: The Everyday Politics of Water in Egypt

Series: New Ecologies for the Twenty-First Century

By: Jessica Barnes (Author)

272 pages, 24 illustrations

Duke University Press

Paperback | Aug 2014 | #220559 | ISBN-13: 9780822357568
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $21/€19 approx
Hardback | Aug 2014 | #220560 | ISBN-13: 9780822357414
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £61.99 $76/€70 approx

About this book

The waters of the Nile are fundamental to life in Egypt. In this compelling ethnography, Jessica Barnes explores the everyday politics of water: a politics anchored in the mundane yet vital acts of blocking, releasing, channeling, and diverting water. She examines the quotidian practices of farmers, government engineers, and international donors as they interact with the waters of the Nile flowing into and through Egypt.

Situating these local practices in relation to broader processes that affect Nile waters, Barnes moves back and forth from farmer to government ministry, from irrigation canal to international water conference. By showing how the waters of the Nile are constantly made and remade as a resource by people in and outside Egypt, she demonstrates the range of political dynamics, social relations, and technological interventions that must be incorporated into understandings of water and its management.

"Cultivating the Nile is an impressive account of something we know little about despite its growing urgency: the causes of water scarcity in any particular region and the ways that the people affected deal with it. A significant contribution to the growing literature on water sustainability around the world, Cultivating the Nile is likely to be discussed for years to come."
– Steven C. Caton, Harvard University

"Readers will be drawn to this book for the timeliness of its topic, an examination of a major case of scarcity of water, the most basic of all resources. They will read it closely, finding it one of the very few academic books that is genuinely a page-turner, with its vivid narration, powerful evocations of daily life, and provocative insights into the workings of power. And they will remember it because it will make them understand water in a new way, as a substance that has a social life as well as a material existence."
– Ben Orlove, Columbia University


A Note on Transliteration, Units, and Abbreviations  vii
Preface  ix
Acknowledgments  xv

1. The End of a River  1
2. The Nile's Nadir: The Production of Scarcity  35
3. Fluid Governance: Water User Associations and Practices of Participation  72
4. Irrigating the Desert, Deserting the Irrigated: Land Reclamation at the Margins  106
5. Flows of Drainage: The Politics of Excess  137
6. Making Egypt's Water  169

Notes  179
References  199
Notes  223

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Jessica Barnes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment and Sustainability Program at the University of South Carolina.

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