Main Article Content

Paradigms and theories in water governance: the case of South Africa’s National Water Resource Strategy, Second Edition

Richard Meissner


This paper indicates the influence of paradigms and theories on the development of South Africa’s National Water Resource Strategy, Second Edition. Five paradigms exist: positivism, postpositivism, interpretivism/constructivism, critical theories and the participatory paradigm. I use the PULSE3 framework for analysis that I developed to analyse the NWRS2. I found that positivism is the dominant paradigm influencing the NWRS2. I furthermore analyse the strategy through two alternative theories: agential power and the ambiguity theory of leadership. These theories are interpretivist/constructivist type theories. My argument is for the integration of paradigms through the utilisation of analytic eclecticism. In light of positivism’s dominance, I conclude that water research can be more innovative through the integration of paradigms and alternative theories.

Keywords: water governance, paradigm, theory, policy, leadership theory, power

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1816-7950
print ISSN: 0378-4738