This Title All WIREs
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Water
Impact Factor: 4.451

River classification: theory, practice, politics

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

The classification of river forms and processes has emerged as a major site for interdisciplinary cooperation and application of environmental science. Geomorphologists, ecologists, planners, and others have made concerted efforts to develop theoretical and empirical frameworks with which to classify rivers and their component parts for multiple, diverse applications. As the breadth and depth of classification logics continue to swell, this article takes stock of recent developments through three analytical lenses. First, the theoretical underpinnings of river classification are explored and summarized to provide a framework within which to situate and compare different classification approaches. Second, four emerging frameworks for river classification are described and compared to assess their epistemological, institutional, and governance implications. Different epistemic communities produce different kinds of classifications, which reveal different ‘realities’ of rivers to be acted upon by human agents. Third, by emphasizing how river classification practices are productive of environmental governance regimes and rationalities, the roles, responsibilities, and possibilities for environmental science are clarified and expanded. Rather than thinking about classification purely as a realist scientific project, attention needs to be paid to the ways in which ‘classifying mindsets’ relate to the production of social and environmental outcomes. WIREs Water 2014, 1:349–367. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1026 This article is categorized under: Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems

Browse by Topic

Water and Life > Nature of Freshwater Ecosystems

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts