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The Patronage of Thirst: Exploring Institutional Fit on a Divided Cyprus

Dimitrios Zikos, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics, Division of Resource Economics
Matteo Roggero, Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Agricultural Economics, Division of Environmental Governance


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We explore the links between Cyprus’s colonial past, divided present, and current water scarcity. With reference to the concept of fit, we tackle the question of whether we can observe fit in settings where institutions for collective action work differently than we would expect. We perform a secondary analysis of interview materials on Cyprus's water conflicts, extracting arguments for and against different solutions to water scarcity. Two perspectives on fit emerge: “island fit”, which supports island-wide institutions; and “patronage fit”, which embodies institutions that link Cypriots to their respective patrons Turkey and Greece. The analysis reveals a preference for island-wide institutional arrangements. However, rather than resting on biophysical considerations, such preference is linked to the feeling of unity of the two communities inhabiting Cyprus. We therefore observe institutions that face a trade-off between fitting to social groupings and fitting to biophysical circumstances.

Key words

Cyprus; fit; islands; social-ecological systems; water institutions; water scarcity

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087