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Water remunicipalisation: Between pendulum swings and paradigm advocacy

Water remunicipalisation: Between pendulum swings and paradigm advocacy

Lobina, Emanuele ORCID: 0000-0003-4774-0308 (2016) Water remunicipalisation: Between pendulum swings and paradigm advocacy. In: Bell, S., Allen, A., Hofmann, P. and Teh, T.-H., (eds.) Urban Water Trajectories. Future City, 6 . Springer International Publishing, London, UK, pp. 149-161. ISBN 9783319426846

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This chapter considers whether remunicipalisation – the return of water services to public ownership and management following the termination of private operating contracts – has a role to play in the future of the urban water sector. It does so by looking at the process of remunicipalisation in Berlin, Germany and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Attention is paid to the interplay of: 1) pendulum swings between competing paradigms of water service management; 2) the paradigm advocacy resulting in the dominance and emergence of paradigms at local level; and, 3) the conceptual tensions between communitarian and privatist paradigms of urban water management.

In both cases, the rigidity of the privatist paradigm has led to the emergence of the communitarian paradigm. Two different processes of remunicipalisation are observed: explicit paradigm advocacy in Berlin, and tacit paradigm advocacy in Buenos Aires. In neither case has the passage from private to public ownership automatically led to the dominance of the communitarian paradigm. Indeed, the causal relationship between remunicipalisation and progressive change is not one of necessity but rather of possibility. Nonetheless, the emergence of water remunicipalisation as a global trend in the last 15 years has profoundly reconfigured institutional trajectories in the urban water sector. The dominance of the privatist paradigm is now challenged in the global North and South and will continue to be in future. This is due to persistent demands by communities for water to be treated as a social good, and the shortcomings of water privatisation as a community development tool.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Remunicipalisation, urban water sector, public ownership, privatisation, Argentina, Germany, institutional trajectories; pendulum swings; paradigm advocacy; paradigm change; development.
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of International Business & Economics
Faculty of Business > Centre for Work and Employment Research (CREW) > Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU)
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2019 17:00

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