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Über dieses Buch

This book presents a new way of looking at and analyzing policies, programs and/or plans in which research scientists have used their knowledge to develop mechanisms such as South Africa's National Water Resource Strategy, Second Edition; Australian and South African climate change adaptation strategies for government entities and the UNDP's Water and Ocean Governance focus area. It critically assesses how science can be used in the service of society and how researchers and practitioners can bridge the gaps that arise as a result of incomplete thinking. Presenting a bird’s-eye view of how thinking and understanding operate in the policy context, it offers a valuable contribution to fields of inquiry such as research methods, comparative analyses, political science, international relations and the natural and social sciences in general. This book fills a market gap, providing real-world solutions to the practical application of science, paradigms and theories.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Water Research in South Africa

Research scientists investigate water research in South Africa through a number of lenses and focusing on the water sector’s various facets. The main aim of the research endeavour is to recommend solutions to the problems faced by the country’s water sector. What creeps in, so to speak, when conducting such research are the myths we rely on. In many instances these myths can bedevil the research process and lead to a situation where researchers paint only a partial picture of reality. This partiality can be mitigated by taking a stance that science is not dogmatic insistence, but constant critique. We see this one-sidedness when looking at current issues in South Africa’s water domain: acid mine drainage, integrated water resource management and transboundary river cooperation. We can move beyond such a situation by taking a critical solidarity stance bringing into focus other perspectives but also enough distance to represent the interests and needs of practitioners.
Richard Meissner

Chapter 2. Water Governance and Management and Climate Change

In this chapter, I will present three case studies; two of which focus on water governance and management and one on climate change. Research scientists argue that climate change has a profound impact on water resources and the management thereof, hence the inclusion of climate change assessment and adaptation strategies as case studies. I analyse two climate change adaptation strategies; one from Australia and the other from South Africa. The other case study deals with South Africa’s National Water Resource Management Strategy and the United Nations Development Programme’s Water and Ocean Governance focus area. How the strategies or plans were developed, using different research paradigms and theories, is the gist of the chapter.
Richard Meissner

Chapter 3. Active Substantiation: A Theory of Water Research

The three case studies presented in Chap. 2 show a strong bias towards positivism. Cognitive processes constitute a bias towards this particular research paradigm. I explore reasons for this inclination and recommend a theory of water research called active substantiation. Active substantiation can be a strong enforcer of expected research outcomes and conclusions. Not only does it relate to research, it can also link with anecdotal and empirical evidence. The brain is like an active loom with countless patterns and threads running back and forth to produce cognition. I follow the discussion of the ‘active loom’ with the search of water on Mars bringing into focus the linkage between water and life. A case study wherein I explore the linkage between water and disaster, and the loss of life, follows this case study. Air France Flight 447 disaster is the subject of this undertaking. ‘Water is life’ is a myth that gets reinforced through active substantiation holding implications for how we perceive reality in the water sector.
Richard Meissner

Chapter 4. PULSE3: A Framework for Analysis

In Chap. 2, I analysed three case studies, one on climate change and two on water governance and management, using an analytical framework called PULSE3. I base this framework on the argument that positivism has difficulty investigating and explaining fundamental social process like, ambiguity, paradox, uncertainty and contradiction. The purpose of PULSE3 is to generate a healthier appreciation of the issues faced by policy makers and practitioners engaged in the South African and international water sectors. PULSE3 has three interlinked components: the research paradigm assessment tool; the ethos of analytic eclecticism and the repertoire of theories. I also present the reader with a way to operationalise the ethos of analytic eclecticism and the repertoire of theories. All-in-all, PULSE3 is an analytical tool to assist the research scientist and practitioner to investigate policies, plans, programmes and strategies differently that the traditional cost-benefit analyses uncovered in Chap. 2.
Richard Meissner

Chapter 5. Paradigms and Theories: Popular Labels and Their Delimitation

Research paradigms and theories have a particular conceptualisation that is often confused with other uses of paradigm and theory. To reduce confusion it is necessary to clarify what the two concepts mean and how they are used in the research domain. Research paradigms and theories are important components in generating knowledge and constituting agency through policy recommendations. In this, we can already see the notion of causality at work. It is important to note that the way we act in the world is influenced by the way we think of the world. Concrete actions are, therefore, not causes in themselves, but how we see the world and act in it has a profound causal string behind it. This does not mean that research paradigms and theories are treated with the respect they deserve. There is a disdain towards research paradigms and theories, and it is this condescension that leads to unproductive research endeavours.
Richard Meissner

Chapter 6. Advancing Different Ideas

There is no doubt that research paradigms and (social) theories influence practices, not only in the public sector but also the private sector. To get to the root of the problems facing society and the ways and means we utilise water resources, we need to investigate reality through a different set of paradigmatic lenses and theoretical perspectives. It is through these different ways of investigating reality that we will be able to advance different and innovative ideas, now and into the future. I reached this conclusion after more than two decades of learning about and researching various water governance and politics aspects linked to International Relations as an academic discipline.
Richard Meissner

Backmatter

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