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In the second part of the third study, the discursive framework is extended beyond the realm of
socio-environmental conflict in order to analyze water-related cooperation between Israeli and
Palestinian communities under the Good Water Neighbours (GWN) project. This cooperation
takes place in very similar political, economic, historical, geographic and ecological contexts to
the national-level water conflict and widespread non-cooperation regarding water between other
Israeli and Palestinian communities. Existing theories of socio-environmental conflict and
cooperation have problems explaining this simultaneity of conflictive and cooperative
relationships. Based on 38 interviews with 44 GWN activists, the dominant GWN discourse
therefore is analyzed and compared to the respective dominant national water discourses. The
most important finding is that several elements of the GWN discourse are much more
cooperation-prone than the dominant discourses in Israel and Palestine. Altogether, both parts of
the third study highlight the relevance of non-material factors in the research on climate change
and violent conflict and the suitability of discourse analysis to account for them in an empirical
analysis.
When synthesizing the insights gained from an extensive review of the literature and the three
empirical studies, I arrive at two main conclusions.
Firstly, all three methods which are empirically applied in this dissertation are, if appropriately
used, highly suitable for studying the possible links between climate change and violent conflict.
Although their shortcomings have to be acknowledged, GIS-based risk analysis, QCA and
discourse analysis complement the currently most widely used methods of case study and
regression analysis in several respects. Since each method has its specific advantages and
limitations, multi-method designs are recommended for future research in order to use the
potential of the various methods to complement each other. The choice of the method mix has
to be guided by the concrete research question, the (potential) complementarities between the
methods and the characteristics of the research field climate change and violent conflict.
Secondly, there is some evidence for the existence of a link between climate change and violent
conflict, although the discussion is still far from settled. More importantly, the manifestation of a
link between climate change and violent conflict is strongly dependent on a number of context
factors, especially on the power differences between the relevant social groups, recent political
changes and the level of past political instability. Non-material factors, and particularly identities
and situation assessments as reproduced by discourses, are also crucial for understanding the link
between climate change and violent conflict. Finally, the factors contributing to conflict onset
under conditions of environmental stress and climate change are not identical to those facilitating
a violent escalation of such conflicts.
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