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Development, dams and Dilma: the saga of Belo Monte

Hall, Anthony and Branford, Sue (2012) Development, dams and Dilma: the saga of Belo Monte. Critical Sociology, 38 (6). pp. 851-862. ISSN 0896-9205

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0896920512440712


The Belo Monte hydropower scheme on the River Xingu in Brazilian Amazonia symbolizes the persistent contradictions between industrial modernization and resource conservation in a fragile environment. For over 30 years, local populations have battled with the energy authorities, contesting the top-down planning approach regularly applied in Brazilian infrastructure expansion. Reconfigured over the past decade as ‘neo-developmentist’, the model complements neoliberalism and is based on a strong alliance between the state as financial backer and the private sector as executor of such major schemes as Belo Monte. Following her predecessors, President Dilma continues to employ authoritarian tactics with little apparent regard for dealing comprehensively with its anticipated severe economic, ecological and social impacts, and with minimal consultation of diverse local groups, especially poorer agricultural and indigenous populations. More transparent and democratic planning procedures are necessary for Belo Monte and similar schemes if Brazil’s environmental credentials are not to be seriously compromised.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2012 14:33
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2024 19:15

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