Contested Rivers: Dam(n) Policymaking in China

Louise Lyngfeldt Gorm Hansen

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    In recent years, hydropower and the sustainability of large hydropower projects has become a contested field. While for example hydropower companies maintain that hydropower is a renewable and sustainable source of electricity, a number of NGOs sharply question this assumption. The paper explores policy making, decision drivers and framing of large hydropower projects in China. Hydropower is a complex and interesting field to explore as the consequences go beyond the immediate locality and interacts with local as well as the global contexts. Inspired by Tsing (2003) and Zhan (2008) the paper explores translocal
    connections through ethnographic fieldwork at a global water conference and preliminary fieldwork at chosen locations on China's Nu River. The Nu River is one of the last undammed rivers in Asia and runs through China close to the Chinese-Burmese border, then flows into the Andaman Sea after running through the Thai-Burmese border. In 2003, a cascade of up to 13 dams were approved by the Chinese government, however, as of yet no dams have been built due to a prolonged controversy between Chinese government officials, Chinese and international environmental NGOs, the media, social and natural scientists and
    Chinese hydropower companies (to name a few). The paper maps different actors’ framing of the issue to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of hydropower policymaking in China, as well as map the local consequences of global policymaking about large hydropower infrastructure projects.
    The paper contributes to ongoing debates about environmental framings in science and technology studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2012
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventThe 4S/EASST Joint Conference 2012: Design and displacement: Social Studies of Science and Technology - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
    Duration: 17 Oct 201220 Oct 2012
    Conference number: 2012


    ConferenceThe 4S/EASST Joint Conference 2012
    LocationCopenhagen Business School
    Internet address

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