Understanding Regulatory Cultures: The Case of Water Regulatory Reforms in India
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This article uses the concept of regulatory cultures to understand the (dis)embedding of “independent” water regulation in India. It analyzes the specific case of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority and explores how discourses and practices (1990–2015) shaped the regulatory development in the water sector. By documenting the practices of meaning-making of “independent” regulation, the paper queries the process(es) of subnational regulatory diffusion and analyzes how water regulation is translated, negotiated, contested, and subverted as situated meanings evolve in the process. Taking an anthropological approach to studying the State and regulation, the article demonstrates how and why the State remains at the very center of the regulatory project in the water sector in India.