Regionalism and Identity in Mekong Hydropower Projects: The Case of the Chinese-built Lower Sesan 2 Dam in Cambodia

Hensengerth, Oliver (2017) Regionalism and Identity in Mekong Hydropower Projects: The Case of the Chinese-built Lower Sesan 2 Dam in Cambodia. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. ISSN 1868-4874 (In Press)

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Abstract

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) has been styled as a natural region drawn together by the Mekong River. However, the literature on regional identity has argued that regions are socially constructed phenomena. River basins in particular are historically evolved constructs of specific political and social relations. Drawing on concepts of regional identity and on the literature examining the links between culture and water, the article argues that the actors driving the GMS have failed to establish social coherence by exacerbating social tensions through the hydropower programmes. These programmes focus on energy production for national economic growth and economic integration between GMS countries, but they ignore the need to govern water resources for the benefit of local communities, many of who are ethnic minorities with specific cultural attachments to the river. This produces tensions around the type of development that takes place in the GMS, leading to value fragmentation rather than value convergence. The article explores these issues by focussing on the Chinese-built Lower Sesan 2 dam in Cambodia.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chinese hydropower dams, water governance, Mekong, regionalism, water and culture, identity, Lower Sesan 2
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2018 12:20
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 12:26
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/33031

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