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World Water Day


World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22. The day focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. For an opportunity to learn more about water related issues and how to take action to make a difference please visit


In recognition of this year’s World Water Day, Berghahn Books is happy to offer 25% discount on all relevant titles. For the next 30 days, visit our webpage and enter code WWD18 at checkout. Offer valid until April 21, 2018.

We’re also delighted to offer FREE access to the following articles from Nature and Culture and Regions and Cohesion until March 29:

Water, Water Everywhere (or, Seeing Is Believing): The Visibility of Water Supply and the Public Will for Conservation

Kate Pride Brown


Perceptions of Water Quality in First Nations Communities: Exploring the Role of Context

Julia Baird, Ryan Plummer, Diane Dupont and Blair Carter


Neoliberal Water Management: Trends, Limitations, Reformulations

Kathryn Furlong


Bringing water challenges to target groups: French water utilities within the European legislative context

Céline Hervé-Bazin



Available in Paperback

Anthropology in Fluid Environments
Edited by Kirsten Hastrup and Frida Hastrup

Volume 3, Ethnography, Theory, Experiment
In one form or another, water participates in the making and unmaking of people’s lives, practices, and stories. Contributors’ detailed ethnographic work analyzes the union and mutual shaping of water and social lives. This volume discusses current ecological disturbances and engages in a world where unbounded relationalities and unsettled frames of orientation mark the lives of all, anthropologists included. Water emerges as a fluid object in more senses than one, challenging anthropologists to foreground the mutable character of their objects of study and to responsibly engage with the generative role of cultural analysis.

Read Introduction: Waterworlds at Large


Available in Paperback

Edited by John Richard Wagner


“The Social Life of Water successfully addresses a wide range of issues concerning the meanings and uses of water in relation to culture, society, and development. As a volume, it shows how a focus on social life opens up new analytical possibilities of broader relevance to the study of water. Moreover, many of the chapters explore contexts and regions not previously covered in work on these topics.” · Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute

Relying on first-hand ethnographic research, the contributors to this volume examine the social life of water in diverse settings and explore the impacts of commodification, urbanization, and technology on the availability and quality of water supplies. Each case study speaks to a local set of issues, but the overall perspective is global, with representation from all continents.


Available in Paperback

Agency, Identity and the Ownership of Water
Veronica Strang


“An interesting example of how to use the technique of ethnographic juxtaposition to highlight multiplicity… The experimental and evocative style… would make this book especially useful for undergraduate teaching, for courses on the comparative study of water, and for the examination of Australian history and politics”. · American Anthropologist

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in two major Australian river catchments (the Mitchell River in Cape York, and the Brisbane River in southeast Queensland), this book examines their major water using and managing groups: indigenous communities, farmers, industries, recreational and domestic water users, and environmental organisations. It explores the issues that shape their different beliefs, values and practices in relation to water, and considers the specifically cultural or sub-cultural meanings that they encode in their material surroundings. Through an analysis of each group’s diverse efforts to ‘garden the world’, it provides insights into the complexities of human-environmental relationships.


A Melanesian Island Ethnography
Katharina Schneider


“The evocative description and level of scholarship make Schneider’s work a fine example of current ethnography which also provides valuable detail about how ethnographers do their work. This is a highly readable book for those with an interest in the region, a fascination with relatedness, and for anthropologists interested in accessing a written account of how useful ethnographic material might be collected.” · JRAI

Based on detailed ethnography, this study engages current Melanesian anthropological theory and argues that movements are the Pororans’ predominant mode of objectifying relations. Movements on Pororan Island are to its inhabitants what roads are to ‘mainlanders’ on the nearby larger island, and what material objects and images are to others elsewhere in Melanesia.



United Nations/WWAP
Foreword by Kofi Annan
Prologue by Ko’chiro Matsuura
Preface by Gordon Young


“…an usually readable and well-crafted example [within the genre]. It is truly impressive in its coverage of topics ranging from ecological assessment…to institutional arrangements…to a series of water-plus analyses…Unlike many Large World Reports, it also exhibits a refreshing degree of statistical good sense…The narrative sections are substantive, generally insightful, and richly illustrated with appropriate illustrations, charts, and statistical information.”  ·  Technology and Culture

Drawing on an extensive database, expert analysis, case studies, and hundreds of graphic elements, it is the most comprehensive undertaking to date of freshwater assessment, providing a mechanism for monitoring changes in the resource and its management and progress towards achieving development targets, particularly the Millennium Development Goals.


Available in Paperback

Published in association with the United Nations
With a foreword by Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations


“The book is well illustrated and contains abundant data tables … In general, the writing quality between the chapters is even and of high quality … Highly recommended.” · Choice

Based on the collective inputs of 23 United Nations agencies and convention secretariats, this Report offers a global overview of the state of the world’s freshwater resources. It is part of an on-going assessment process to develop policies and help with their implementation as well as to measure any progress towards achieving sustainable use of water resources.

Of relevant interest: 

A History of the Volga and Mississippi Rivers
Dorothy Zeisler-Vralsted

Volume 5, Environment in History: International Perspectives


“The book will serve as a wellspring for more specific comparisons and as a methodological example for future scholarship.” · Choice

Rivers figure prominently in a nation’s historical memory, and the Volga and Mississippi have special importance in Russian and American cultures. Beginning in the pre-modern world, both rivers served as critical trade routes connecting cultures in an extensive exchange network, while also sustaining populations through their surrounding wetlands and bottomlands. In modern times, “Mother Volga” and the “Father of Waters” became integral parts of national identity, contributing to a sense of Russian and American exceptionalism. Furthermore, both rivers were drafted into service as the means to modernize the nation-state through hydropower and navigation. Despite being forced into submission for modern-day hydrological regimes, the Volga and Mississippi Rivers persist in the collective memory and continue to offer solace, recreation, and sustenance. Through their histories we derive a more nuanced view of human interaction with the environment, which adds another lens to our understanding of the past.


Recovery in the Wake of the Tsunami in a Tamil Fishing Village
Frida Hastrup

Volume 16, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology


The Asian tsunami in December 2004 severely affected people in coastal regions all around the Indian Ocean. This book provides the first in-depth ethnography of the disaster and its effects on a fishing village in Tamil Nadu, India. The author explores how the villagers have lived with the tsunami in the years succeeding it and actively worked to gradually regain a sense of certainty and confidence in their environment in the face of disempowering disaster. What appears is a remarkable local recovery process in which the survivors have interwoven the tsunami and the everyday in a series of subtle practices and theorisations, resulting in a complex and continuous recreation of village life. By showing the composite nature of the tsunami as an event, the book adds new theoretical insight into the anthropology of natural disaster and recovery.


Fishermen’s Knowledge, Metaphor and Environmental Change in South India
Gotz Hoeppe

Volume 2, Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology


Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Hindus and Muslims in a coastal village, this book explores the fisherfolk’s environmental knowledge, its transformation in a period of rapid socio-economic and political change as well as its role in dealing with the state and the science – putatively universal and objective – upon which the state’s policies are claimed to be based. The book emphasises conversation as a cultural process, metaphors and figurative speech in the investigation of knowledge, as well as the use and limits of memory in conceptualising environmental change.




Environment and Society
Advances in Research

Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.



Nature and Culture

Nature and Culture (NC) is a forum for the international community of scholars and practitioners to present, discuss, and evaluate critical issues and themes related to the historical and contemporary relationships that societies, civilizations, empires, regions, nation-states have with Nature. The journal contains a serious interpolation of theory, methodology, criticism, and concrete observation forming the basis of this discussion.





Regions and Cohesion

Due to the dramatic changes in global affairs related to regional integration, studies can no longer be limited to the analysis of economic competitiveness and political power in global geopolitics. Regions and Cohesion is a needed platform for academics and practitioners alike to disseminate both empirical research and normative analysis of topics related to human and environmental security, social cohesion, and governance. It covers themes, such as the management of strategic resources, environment and society, social risk and marginalization, disasters and policy responses, violence, war and urban security, the quality of democracy, development, public health, immigration, human rights, organized crime, and cross-border human security.