Accessibility navigation

Hydropolis: reinterpreting the polis in water politics

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

Text - Accepted Version
· Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

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


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
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:72303


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation