Governance in current debates demands pluralism of actors in the societal spheres of state, civil society and business. There is an inherent assumption of harmony among these spheres, which appears to optimise complimentary outcomes in `good governance'. In the real world, however, conflict is the norm rather than the exception.
Conflicts over the access and control of natural resources have amplified over time with large-scale resource transformation, especially through technological innovation. Today, the key challenge before natural resource governance is the need to balance economic growth with the demands and aspirations of the differentiated social structure, the future generations and the environment. Studies in this volume examine the competing, and diverging, interests that generate certain forms of natural resource conflicts. The studies bring into focus the changing role of the State and the social and environmental impact of State interventions in triggering conflict and mobilising resistance.
N.C. Narayanan is a Senior Fellow at the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies, Hyderabad, India. He has taught at the Institute of Rural Management, Anand and done research at the Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum and the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands. He is the author of Against the Grain: Political Ecology of Land Use in Kerala Region, India and co-author of TINA and the Milk: Southern Perspectives on Sustainability in the Netherlands (English and Dutch editions). He is currently working on two edited volumes on Water Conflicts and Water Governance in South Asia.