JTPP Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 2019) Article # 2


Explores the complex conflictual themes and relational dynamics exposed by human’s ongoing late capitalist environmental degradation


Peering through Frames at Conflict and Change: Transition in the Los Angeles Urban Water System

Marcia Hale (Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA) & Stephanie Pincetl (Professor-in-Residence at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and Director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, USA)

Environmental conflicts are essentially due to resources that are scarce, polluted and/or being leveraged by corrupt regimes. There are profound implications for research and practice, as the ways that cities process, manage and use resources can serve to instigate, fuel, mediate or transform human conflict.

Path dependencies in these systems render them slow to change, and so periods of transition are infrequent and should be harnessed to increase sustainability and build towards positive peace.

This paper illustrates challenges of transition within the Los Angeles urban water system. Historical analysis serves to reveal values that underpin water management and show how changing narratives are still vulnerable to legacy. Frame analysis shows the importance of history and narrative in both conflict and change.

The mapping of sociotechnical transitions can be of assistance to practitioners, activists and scholars alike, especially those concerned with harnessing natural resources for conflict transformation.

Honourable Association