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Hydropolis: reinterpreting the polis in water politics

Menga, F. (2017) Hydropolis: reinterpreting the polis in water politics. Political Geography, 60 (September). pp. 100-109. ISSN 0962-6298

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.05.002

Abstract/Summary

The construction of a large dam is often a contested and controversial matter. Delicate aspects related to the dam construction business such as the resettlement of peoples, environmental impact and financial costs, can trigger popular discontent and hinder the realisation of a particular project. By advancing the notion of the hydropolis, a reinterpretation of Hannah Arendt (1958) definition of the polis, this paper will explore how ruling elites can manipulate the public opinion to politically construct a large dam as a foreign policy matter. This, it will be argued, serves to conceal the negative consequences of a dam so that issues related to its social and environmental impact are removed from the national political debate. Specifically, the case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Ethiopia will be used to illustrate how a large dam can become a geopolitical object grounded on the friend/enemy distinction, in the context of the longstanding geopolitical tensions in the Nile River Basin.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:72303

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