Node and Regime // Interdisciplinary Analysis of Water-Energy-Food Nexus in the Mekong Region
By Tira Foran. Understanding complex phenomena such as the water-energy-food nexus (resource nexus) requires a more holistic, interdisciplinary inquiry. Spurred by a sense of imbalance in approaches to the nexus dominated by integrated assessment/complex systems methodologies, the author reexamines the findings and recommendations of a major nexus research-for-development project in the Mekong region.
The concept of 'regime of provisioning', a synthesis of social science concepts related to meso-level social order, allows essential political economy and discursive elements of the resource nexus to be analysed. I show that socio-political regimes constrain societal investment in three 'nodes' of the nexus previously identified as critical to manage sustainably: energy efficiency, wild-capture fisheries, and diversified smallholder agriculture. I discuss implications for the 'nexus' as a new policy agenda and offer three propositions for ongoing inquiry and inclusive practice.
Water Alternatives 8 (1): 655-674