Consider the Dam: Hydropower, Discourse, and Politics in Laos.
Abstract: Abstract The recently begun Xayaburi dam project in Laos has
demonstrated the uncertainty and disagreement about dams and development in the Mekong
Region. Despite concerns that the environmental and social costs of hydropower far exceed
the benefits, the government of Laos has produced an explicit economic development policy
with hydropower at its center. The Xayaburi dam project ha... read mores spurred widespread debate about
how to balance economic development with ecological imperatives in an economically and
politically diverse region. This thesis uses discourse analysis to identify the dominant
storylines within the Xayaburi dam debate as a window into the social processes that
influence hydropower decision-making in Laos. Analysis of the major storylines reveals the
ways in which certain ideas and concepts have taken hold and continue to influence
hydropower development in Laos. The thesis concludes with a discussion of potential areas
where the discourse could be shifted to more meaningfully address the motivation for
building large dams.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Rusty Russell.
Committee: Sheldon Krimsky.
Keyword: Environmental science.read less