Active Substantiation: A Theory of Water Research

  • Richard MeissnerEmail author


The three case studies presented in Chap. 2 show a strong bias towards positivism. Cognitive processes constitute a bias towards this particular research paradigm. I explore reasons for this inclination and recommend a theory of water research called active substantiation. Active substantiation can be a strong enforcer of expected research outcomes and conclusions. Not only does it relate to research, it can also link with anecdotal and empirical evidence. The brain is like an active loom with countless patterns and threads running back and forth to produce cognition. I follow the discussion of the ‘active loom’ with the search of water on Mars bringing into focus the linkage between water and life. A case study wherein I explore the linkage between water and disaster, and the loss of life, follows this case study. Air France Flight 447 disaster is the subject of this undertaking. ‘Water is life’ is a myth that gets reinforced through active substantiation holding implications for how we perceive reality in the water sector.


Active substantiation Active loom Cognition Mars Water is life Air France flight 447 Conformity 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)PretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Centre for Water Resources ResearchUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalScottsvilleSouth Africa

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