Innovation and Land: An Analysis of Conflicts about the Use of Water Resources in Charente River Watershed

Special Report: Innovations and Territories
By Olivier Bouba-Olga, Pascal Chauchefoin, Jacques Mathé

The literature dealing with the spatial dimension of innovation mainly focused on the advantages of proximity. More recently, some scholars have started to study the disadvantages of physical proximity, i.e. when it leads to conflicts between actors. Those authors distinguish, firstly, between chosen proximity and undergone proximity and, secondly, between geographical proximity and “organized proximity”. They argue that the solution of conflicts and disputes often rests upon a balanced combination of geographical and organized proximity. In this article, we show that such a local regulation is not always possible, especially when the behaviour of the actors depends on non-local, contradictory determinants. This is illustrated by the case-study of conflicts about the use of water resources in the Charente river catchment area.

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