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Title: Large dams in contemporary Africa : a development imperative, "The tyranny of technology", or a subversion of southern countries' development?
Author: Alhassan, Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 2669 1508
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2008
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Most contemporary literature on large dams is critical of their performance particularly regarding their negative impacts on society and the ecosystem. This has led to suggestions of more benign alternatives which could provide the same if not more benefits and fewer negative social and environmental stresses. Consequently, large dams are caught in an ideological contest of why, what and how development should be pursued. This thesis examines the impacts of large dams to analyse some aspects of development theory in the context of the links between dam-building, sustainable development and neoliberalism/ modernisation in Africa’s socio-economic development trajectory. Using an interdisciplinary approach and multiple methods including actor-oriented research, historical research processes and case studies and a review of large dams in Africa, this thesis examines and analyses the perceptions and experiences of communities resettled following the construction of the Akosombo Dam, and communities likely to be affected by the proposed Bui Dam Project in Ghana, and of other national, local and international actors and their organisations. Contextualised within contemporary African development, the thesis finds that the construction of large dams is temporally and spatially mediated by geophysical conditions and prevailing international, national and local socio-economic and political circumstances. Although some large dams built to maximise water resources use for development have realised their objectives, others have demonstrably failed, and this failure is especially acute viewed in the context of their additional social and environmental costs. The thesis finds that although large dams have variable outcomes, they are associated with problems of equity in benefit distribution, social and environmental costs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available