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Weiz, Bettina (2006): Water Reservoirs in South India: An anthropological approach. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Cultural Studies
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Abstract

The thesis highlights that culture matters to the water supply, which is often considered mainly a technical and economical task. Based on fieldwork in Tamil Nadu /South India, it explores how water reservoirs work, how they are utilised, managed, perceived and which role they play in rituals. It deconstructs notions such as "community management" and "traditional institutions" and traces the water reservoirs' deep entanglement in local politics and beliefs. It also provides an ethnography of water uses and discusses the cultural meaning of water. At the same time, the thesis demonstrates that the water supply is a tool to understand a local society, the role of the state, identity formation, caste, and the effects of colonialism.