Journal article Open Access
Casciarri, Barbara; Van Aken, Mauro; Arango, Luisa; Rowlands, Jorge
WATERLAT-GOBACIT Working Papers (ISSN 2056-4864 - online) Vol. 4 No 2, pp. 119-143. (www.waterlat.org)
In this article, Barbara Casciarri and Mauro Van Aken discuss the significance and potentiality of "water" as an anthropological object of study. This article was originally published in French as an Introduction to an special issue on the anthropology of water in the Journal des Antropologues. This article presents a review of the literature and ethnographies about water in French and British anthropology. From this viewpoint, the paper proposes to interrogate the construction of the object and its ties with ethnographic practices to open a wider theoretical analysis through a three-pronged reflection. The first concerns the potentialities of water as an anthropological object. The second suggests that the discipline has not paid enough attention to water’s relational capabilities and, therefore, finds it difficult to open up a space for itself in this thematic area. The third expresses the difficulties of working in multidisciplinary teams where the capacity of anthropology to innovate and understand the contemporary cultural dynamics has been neglected. Being the introduction to the first issue of a French journal dedicated to the anthropology of water, the article finishes by presenting new research perspectives emerging from the different articles that composed the dossier. The article by Casciarri and Van Aken was translated by Luisa Arango and Jorge Rowlands, who also provide and introduction to meta-studies of water-related research carried out by French and British anthropologists.