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New Approaches and Research Methods


Resource Frontiers will shape three core anthropological debates:


Hydraulic sovereignty

Our project will re-evaluate social scientific theorisations of space-based sovereignty through a focus on trans-border water: a substance that, through its fluidity, exceeds the ability to be comprehensively governed


Trans-border resource nationalism

We will conceptually broaden studies of resource nationalism – including its Sinophobic dimensions - by asking how its forms are shaped in relation to waters spanning national borders and in relation to legal concepts shaped in different jurisdictions



We will deepen social scientific analysis of mega-infrastructure projects related to water extraction and hydroelectricity generation, asking how infrastructure becomes a key 'thing' through which people understand what frontiers are


Research methods

We use ethnographic methods, including participant-observation and interviews, to examine legal regimes of trans-border water governance. We will also consider perspectives of alternative water governance embedded in local beliefs that water politics extends beyond national borders and the human world to address local and global water management by other-then-human creatures, such as Lusad (water-deities).