Water Politics and Spiritual Ecology: Introduction

Date of publication
The culmination of a decade of ethnographic research in Timor Leste, this book addresses a critical need for a sustained geographical and anthropological inquiry into the social issues of water governance. Exploring the ritual ecological practices, contexts and scales through which use, negotiation over and sharing of water occurs at the local level, this book shows the complex functioning and social, cultural, economic and environmental interdependencies of hydrological societies in the eastern region of Timor Leste. It examines the difficulties local communities face in having their rights recognised and their efforts to maintain and assert control of their waterscapes in the face of rapidly changing water governance institutions.

Integrating the concept of spiritual ecology with a critical analysis of the hydrosocial cycle, this introduction examines the ways in which modern water governance regimes have engaged with custom and tradition in Timor Leste and elsewhere.