Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations and Cooperation
Citation:Joyce, John, Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations and Cooperation, Trinity College Dublin.School of Natural Sciences, 2022
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Issues of trust are relevant in several domains of society, from digitalisation, multinational companies, medical technology, human resource management, to food safety. However, there remains a dearth of studies that examine intergroup trust in real world contexts. In response, this thesis takes the predominantly theoretical literature on the role of trust and holds it up to the light of real-world experiences in the field of transboundary water cooperation. On-going efforts to support transboundary water cooperation have included, for example, countries engaging in institutional forms such as treaties, conventions, and regional bodies. Other efforts have included the application of paradigms such as benefits sharing, as concepts to support cooperative processes between countries. Despite these on-going efforts, little work has been conducted regarding the role of trust in transboundary water cooperation. This thesis aims to address this gap by exploring trust in transboundary water cooperation. Empirical data was gathered through elite interviews with officials, practitioners, and experts actively working in transboundary water governance and cooperation in one or more transboundary river basin settings. Given that trust as the phenomenon of interest is episodic and infrequent, the elite interviews were used as an instrument to gather an in-depth understanding of the dynamic nature, tacit elements, and interpretations of trust in transboundary water cooperation. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted. The subsequent analysis of the interview data was iterative, moving between data collection, coding, and synthesis to theoretically saturate and arrive at core categories. Through these processes, three core categories inductively emerged from the data. These core categories of national interest or self-interest, power, and legal agreements, illuminated respondents knowledge and experience. Trust, trustworthiness, or distrust are mainly micro level psychosocial processes, not primary or primitive terms, but multidimensional, and understood and revealed through variables, or indirect indicators, that could be considered as attributes of trust, trustworthiness, or distrust. Given this, to effectively elucidate the core categories that emerged, corroboration with several relevant extant theoretical fields was necessary to draw inferences and to arrive at theoretical propositions. As an outcome, the research contributes to a deeper understanding, attribution, consciousness, and critical attention to the relevance or consequences of behaviours, actions or contexts on trust, trustworthiness, or distrust between parties. Set in the broader aim to generate knowledge of social action that has social relevance, this research provides a foundation for future research and application in policy and practice. While this research presents an evidenced argument, testing transferability would require taking the emerging theoretical framework in this research and apply it to, for example, case studies or in the design of surveys.
Author: Joyce, John
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Natural Sciences. Discipline of Geography
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available