Constructing power through an irrigation organization: A case of state -society -individual relationships in rural Turkey
This study is based on field research conducted on an irrigation organization (Akdeniz Sulama Birligi) and two settlements (Davultepe and Tece), located in Icel Province in the Southern Anatolia Region of Turkey; this region is one of the most integrated into national and international centers. The main objective of this study is to explore the role of an irrigation organization in transforming itself and its wider environment. The main question is: how do socially embedded interactions in the organizational process affect the success or failure of a collective action for irrigation? Attempts to change ways and means of thinking and acting are analyzed within the framework of power relationships. The mutual effects of some key structural factors and daily interactions that have given way to changes in (or the reproduction of) existing forms, rules, rule making and implementation styles are the main focus of this study. It is argued that the approach suggested in this study overcomes the difficulties posed by the "participation for efficiency" perspective, and thus provides more useful tools to obtain satisfactory information for creating credible rules that are necessary for the sustainability of both natural resources and rural populations. Data reveal that the rules have been revised or altered in the process. As the organization gained particular characteristics and functions, it became a relatively autonomous entity and an institution in itself. Resource availability, community characteristics, organizational structure, and external relations, particularly the relations with the state, are found to be sometimes independent and at other times intervening structural factors that affect the success of the organization. Conscious efforts at communication, critical evaluation, and elimination of the asymmetric sources of power from the irrigation process are found to be the most important endogenous factors regarding the success of the organization.