The social impacts of dam construction4.17.14

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The social impacts of dam construction4.17.14

  1. 1. The Social Impacts of Dam Construction Anthony Oliver-Smith University of Florida Webinar Amazon Dams Program April 17, 2014
  2. 2. Who is Affected by Dam Construction and Operation? • At least 6 communities, all internally differentiated • Upstream communities: the displaced and those remaining in place, environmental changes. • Downstream communities: environmental changes; some migration • Dam resettled peoples-resettlement project change • “Hosts”-receiving communities • Non-local networks, interests: markets and politics • Beneficiaries (local and non-local)
  3. 3. Displacement and Loss • Displacement as crisis • Displacement losses: • environmental-resources, ecosystem services • economic-livelihoods, markets, jobs • social-networks, kin, clientele • political- power, host-guest conflict • cultural-place, identity, spirituality • Loss of an “Environment of Trust” • Grieving for a lost home-loss of cultural resources that aid in the grieving process.
  4. 4. Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction Model • Vulnerability and Risk approach • 8 Basic risks of displacement and resettlement • Landlessness food insecurity • Joblessness increased morbidity • Homelessness loss of access to common • Marginalization property resources • Social Disarticulation (Cernea 1997)
  5. 5. And After Dam Forced Displacement? • The great unanswered (almost unasked) question. • Assimilation with co-ethnics • Urbanization • Resettlement
  6. 6. The Four Stage Model • Multidimensional Stress-3 forms of stress associated with 4 stages • Planning before physical removal • Coping with drop in living standards that follows displacement • Initiating economic development and community formation activities to improve living standards • Handing over settlement to the 2nd generation and non project authority institutions. (Scudder and Colson 1982; Scudder 2009)
  7. 7. Three Forms of Stress from Resettlement • Physiological stress is seen in increased morbidity and mortality rates. “Dying of a broken heart” with prevalence among the elderly. • Psychological stress, seen as directly proportional to the abruptness of the relocation, has four manifestations: trauma, guilt, grief and anxiety • Sociocultural stress is manifested as a result of the economic, political, and cultural effects of relocation. (Scudder and Colson 1982)
  8. 8. Crucial Factors in Success or Failure of Resettlement Projects • Poor choice of site for resettlement • Design or layout of the settlement • Housing design, materials and construction • Little or no consultation with the affected population • Lack of strategies and means for sustainable livelihoods. (Oliver-Smith 1991; McDowell 2002; Correa 2012a, 2012b)
  9. 9. From Displacement to Emplacement: Psycho-Socio- Cultural (PSC) Stress, Impoverishment and Recovery Displacement: Loss of place constitutes a disruption of “social geometry:” the socially constructed spatio- temporal order that anchors “routine culture” and identity. Reconstituting “social geometry” is about the struggle to make a new place in the world; of recreating a sense of place, i.e. making a home materially and symbolically, i.e. Emplacement
  10. 10. Psycho-Socio-Cultural (PSC) Recovery • PSC recovery impeded by adherence to 5 fallacies. • 1. compensation is enough • 2. strict compliance to policy • 3. blame the victim • 4. the clock stops with construction • 5. project (planners, financiers, government) not responsible or liable for PSC changes (Downing and Garcia-Downing 2009)
  11. 11. PSC Recovery • Pre-displacement culture will not be restored. • Recovery still possible, but must be measured by different (non-economic) criteria. • 3 questions: Who are we? Where are we? And How do we relate to one another? (Downing and Garcia-Downing 2009).
  12. 12. Displacement and Resettlement as a Complex System • “Inadequate Inputs” approach-failure due to lack of appropriate inputs, legal frameworks, policies, political will, funding, research, etc. • Inherent Complexity approach-interrelatedness of a range of factors taking place in context of imposed spatial change and local level responses- influence of internal decisions and external power, and mutual transformation. Process not predictable, or amenable to standard linear planning. requires open-ended, participatory approach to planning (De Wet 2006).
  13. 13. Responsible Agencies • Relatively few nations have either the necessary legislation or the administrative structure and capacity to adequately address the task of resettling displaced populations. • Generally speaking, an amalgam of public agencies, with jurisdiction over a wide spectrum of environmental, social, and economic domains, is created to plan resettlement, often producing projects that demonstrate their conflicting and often contradictory agendas.
  14. 14. Basic Ground Rules DFDR is always a last resort Adequate Financing Advance Planning Land tenure and livelihoods Community involvement Safeguard Policies: Monitoring and Compliance Adequate staffing and training National legal frameworks (de Sherbinin et al 2010)
  15. 15. The Near Future • Resurgence in dam building as key to energy generation and development; • Dams now being presented as a form of mitigation for climate change, increasing potential for large scale population displacements and resettlement. • Urgent need to improve resettlement legal frameworks, financing, planning, and implementation with full participation of affected peoples in all stages. • Need for better baseline data and improved training of resettlement professionals

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