Tapping the Turn, is a conference on water’s social dimensions. Inspired by a growing interest in more effectively combining scientific and humanities and social sciences (HASS) research, Tapping the Turn will be held in Canberra, Australia on Thurs 15th and Fri 16th Nov, 2012.

Papers highlighting the links between the natural, physical and technical aspects of water, and its social roles and cultural meanings will be presented. 

You are warmly invited attend this international conference dedicated to water’s social dimensions.

In recent years, social scientists have imagined ‘social natures’ – nature-cultures and natural-technical and socio-technical assemblages – where nature is not autonomous of human endeavour and human agency but the environment imbues, and is imbued by, human cultural activity. It has been noted that in developing the idea of water as a scientific element, a vital and physical ‘resource’, H2O has become an exploitable ‘resource’ heroically engineered to supply urban citizens living far from its source. This worldview posited a fundamental separation between the natural realm of water and the social contexts within which it is used, represented and controlled. Modernity has robbed water of its history and geography, severed people’s connections with sources of a vital element and constrained our imaginative capacities to learn and ‘think with’ water.

In spite of this dominant worldview, a revolution in the way people know and represent water is underway: there is a turn away from the presumed and established fundamental separation between the natural realm of water and the social contexts within which it is used, represented and controlled.  It is the nature of this revolution that Tapping the Turn seeks to explore.

Following the abstract review process, an number of session sub-themes were identified.   These sub-themes are listed under the relevant themes.

a) Living with Water – City, country, farm, home, body, spirit
Household water use; rural and remote issues; cultural meanings and spiritual values of water; water and well-being.

Session themes Water Spirits, Household Water, Evocation, Watery Transitions

b) Water Geographies, Histories and Futures – Tracing, writing, mapping, modelling
Water heritage; integrated and participatory water planning; site-specific water management.

Session themes Contextualising Waterscapes, Managing Complexity, Debunking & Subverting

c) Water Security and Insecurity – The hydropolitics of fear
Social aspects of water sustainability; demand management planning; predictability, unpredictability and complexity.

Session themes Allocation Approaches, Totally Tanked, Water Governance, Crisis, Residential Consumption Workshop

d) Water Genders, Cultures, Politics – Water governance inside and outside the home.
Different cultural meanings; gendered water use; masculinity, femininity, water governance.

Session themes Making and Unmaking Democracies and Models, Gender and Water Workshop, ECR Water Governance Workshop

We look forward to seeing you in Canberra, Australia in November.  Conference registration details are here.
For the conference program, and abstracts, please click here.