Andean Waterways explores the politics of natural resource use in the Peruvian Andes in the context of climate change and neoliberal expansion. It does so through careful ethnographic analysis of the constitution of waterways, illustrating how water becomes entangled in a variety of political, social, and cultural concerns. Set in the highland town of Recuay in Ancash, Andean Waterways traces the ways in which water affects political and ecological relations as glaciers recede. By looking at the shared waterways of four villages located in the foothills of Cordillera Blanca, it addresses pertinent questions concerning water governance and rural lives.
This case study of water politics will be useful to anthropologists, resource managers, environmental policy makers, and other readers who are interested in the effects of environmental change on rural communities.
"This timely and engaging book fills an enormous void. We now have a water ethnography that does the subject justice."
- Ben Orlove, author of Darkening Peaks: Glacier Retreat, Science, and Society
"The Cordillera Blanca, along the higher elevations of the Santa river watershed in Andean Peru, has become the focus of considerable research on climate change and associated policy anxiety for remediation of such change and its adverse impacts. The author situates what is essentially a study of water politics at a regional level within international pressures and their national mediation, in a landscape where water is abundantly present but poorly distributed. Rasmussen takes a landscape of interconnected channels and investigates this topography of flows through a careful ethnography of long-term settlers in their region. Along the way he builds his chapters around each channel and with it a particular issue-community formation, state intervention, water management bureaucracy, conflicts over mining-to show the way water and local livelihood are produced in intimate contests."
- K. Sivaramakrishnan, professor of anthropology and professor of forestry and environmental studies, Yale University
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Mattias Borg Rasmussen is an anthropologist and post-doctoral researcher in the department of food and resource economics, University of Copenhagen.