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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: May 2011



This book has made three core empirical arguments. First, in the Introduction and Chapter 1 I argued that urban access to safe drinking water is a policy problem that has an increasingly important global dimension, which is illuminated by understanding it in terms of rights and regulation. This perspective helps to trace emerging cross-border patterns of activity without losing sight of the way that these activities are still embedded in, and shaped by, particular national political and cultural contexts.

Second, Chapters 2 and 3 argued that two primary models have emerged in the global policy field as responses to the problem of access to water services in urban settings, each rooted in a particular national setting. France is emblematic of the managed liberalisation model while Bolivia has been a crucial site for the emergence of a public participatory model. However, as shown in Chapters 4 and 5, as aspects of the public participatory model are institutionalised at the micro level, they tend to be colonised by managed liberalisation.

Third, socio-economic rights and ‘community control’ are commonly invoked in efforts to hold back this colonising tendency, but there are a number of challenges in retaining a political–critical edge to these strategies. Their relationship to law and legality is a site of particular interest in this respect, as explored in Chapter 6, and illuminates different kinds of hybrids between managed liberalisation and public participatory governance.