Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Within the academic discussion, water is argued to be a ‘multifaceted resource’, yet, the social and cultural dimensions of water have received little attention. Furthermore, authors have highlighted a need to explore the phenomenon from both, the macro and micro level, however, debates regarding water tend to revolve around the former.
Following the need for a more local perspective, this study looks into water practices of a household, like using a watering can to irrigate crops or purifying water for consumption, as well as the environment in which these occur. Recognising that change is essential for development, it also explores if improvement of these practices is needed, and how development of these, if so, may be encouraged.
One perspective fostering such an understanding is Symbolic Interactionism, focusing on individuals and their behaviour and how this is influenced by their perceived reality and the interaction with oneself and others. This perspective is utilised as the analytical framework in order to explore people’s lives and their experiences. The research was carried out as a field work during April and May, 2013, in Ribáuè, Mozambique.
This study concludes that there is a recognised need to develop water practices in order to support and create favourable outcomes for households. One of the factors that this study highlights as important is to acknowledge individuals’ cognitive process in relation to the visible actions performed, emphasising the significance of taking both processes into account when attempting to encourage the development of water practices. For instance, it is advisable to provide not only theoretical instructions, but also to demonstrate and let the individuals carry out new practices.
By taking such factors into account, this may strengthen the efforts to encourage a household to develop its water practices. This study also proposes potential perspectives for future research.