Reflexive Land and Water Management in Iran: Linking Technology, Governance and Culture. Part 1: Land and Water Management Paradigms

M.R. Balali, F.W.J. Keulartz, M.J.J.A.A. Korthals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In order to examine the possibilities for sustainable land and water management in Iran, this research was carried out with two types of research and their combinations, i.e. theoretical and empirical research during 2005- 2009. In the theoretical part, which is the scope of this paper, the co-evolution of agricultural technologies, social institutions, and ethical and religious mentalities throughout history were studied. The results showed that three periods could be distinguished: pre-modernity, industrial modernity, and reflexive modernity. The pre-modern era can be characterized by its key technical system (the Qanat system of underground water conveyance channels), its main governance institution (the Buneh cooperative organization of agricultural production) and its ethico-religious belief system (Zoroastrianism and Islam). The epoch of industrial modernity can be identified by the partial replacement of Qanats by deep wells and large dams, the substitution of the Buneh by a system of smallholding, and the emergence of a mechanistic worldview. Currently, Iran seems to be in stage of transition from industrial modernity to what has come to be known as reflexive or second modernity. Reflexive modernity can be characterized by the revitalization of traditional structures and their integration with the structures of industrial modernity, in such a way that the benefits and advantages of both will be preserved as much as possible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-99
JournalIranian Journal of Water Research in Agriculture
Volume24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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