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Defying Displacement

Defying Displacement

ANTHONY OLIVER-SMITH
Copyright Date: 2010
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/717633
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  • Book Info
    Defying Displacement
    Book Description:

    The uprooting and displacement of people has long been among the hardships associated with development and modernity. Indeed, the circulation of commodities, currency, and labor in modern society necessitates both social and spatial mobility. However, the displacement and resettlement of millions of people each year by large-scale infrastructural projects raises serious questions about the democratic character of the development process.

    Although designed to spur economic growth, many of these projects leave local people struggling against serious impoverishment and gross violations of human rights. Working from a political-ecological perspective, Anthony Oliver-Smith offers the first book to document the fight against involuntary displacement and resettlement being waged by people and communities around the world.

    Increasingly over the last twenty-five years, the voices of people at the grass roots are being heard. People from many societies and cultures are taking action against development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) and articulating alternatives. Taking the promise of democracy seriously, they are fighting not only for their place in the world, but also for their place at the negotiating table, where decisions affecting their well-being are made.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79286-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface (pp. vii-ix)
  4. Acknowledgments (pp. x-xiv)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Disasters of Development Development Forced Displacement and Resettlement (pp. 1-41)

    At the end of the twentieth century, following the collapse of its socialist challenger, the dominant Western model of development stood triumphant as the guide to improving human welfare. However, even as the socialist model began its precipitous decline, alternative interpretations of development had begun to emerge. These new approaches were not based on class conflict, although in some sense they included it, but on the discourses of the environment and human rights. Confronting the current neo-liberal version of the dominant model, voices articulating other interpretations and practices of development and advocating greater emphasis on social justice and environmental sustainability...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Understanding Resistance Combating the Violence of Development (pp. 42-83)

    The rights, claims, and aspirations of people who resist uprooting by development projects are as multidimensional and complex as the projects that threaten them. The kinds of projects that displace people and communities defy easy categorization. Such projects range from the truly gigantic, such as the Three Gorges Dam that will displace between 1.2 and 1.6 million people, to the small expansion of parking facilities outside a New Jersey casino that will displace a multigenerational family business from a traditional location.Similarly, the kinds of people who have been or will be displaced encompass most of the nations, regions, and cultures...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The People in the Way (pp. 84-104)

    About the only characteristic the displaced have in common, apart from their humanity, is that they are in the way of someone else’s plans for development.The politics of displacement and resettlement, no matter whether in a working-class neighborhood in Boston, a peasant village in the Andes, or a tribal hunter-gatherer group in the Philippines, involve the conflict between some people with power who use it to remove people with less power from land and resources the ownership and use of which are desired. To achieve the goal of acquiring that ownership and use, a number of processes of identification are...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Contested Landscapes Development, Ecological Upheaval, and Resistance (pp. 105-131)

    At one level, all resistance to DFDR constitutes one side of an environmental conflict. Resistance is a rejection of an attempt by certain interests to transform an environment in some way that requires the displacement of people. As such, environmental conflict is at the center of grassroots and NGO resistance to DFDR. Both the state and private interests, in undertaking large-scale infrastructural development and conservation projects, base their decisions on culturally particular constructions of the environment. Because of the conflicts that such images of nature and the environment produce in their applications in such projects, a brief discussion of their...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Challenging the Economics of Displacement Evaluating Risks and Compensating Losses (pp. 132-162)

    Particularly in the developing world, where communities have been less dissolved into clusters of atomized economic actors, resistance to DFDR challenges the way states, multilaterals, and corporations do business. In many instances, resistance by communities subverts the individualistic economic model of the West. Economics, as constructed in the West, is purportedly about individual choice-making in the application of scarce means to prioritized ends. The market is the primary institution in which these choices are made, and money is the primary means through which they are carried out. However, for many communities, if they define economics as a separate domain at...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Lake of Memory Cultural Discourses of Resistance (pp. 163-188)

    There is a barely hidden cultural politics in many development projects that seeks to further a general expansion of the control of the state over local territories and people (J. Scott, 1998). In extending its physical control over territory, the state also strives to impose a process of standardization and simplification over inhabitants, including common measurement, language, codification, and mapping. In reducing local cultural, social, and economic complexity to a format dictated by the state, control and rationalization of local systems in accordance with state priorities can be achieved. Nation-building involves the creation of a comprehensible unity out of an...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Confronting Goliath The Politics of DFDR Resistance (pp. 189-232)

    In the final analysis, all the disputes between the state, private interests, and people threatened with displacement by development projects—disputes over economic issues, environmental problems, cultural violations, and social conflicts—end up being contested in the domain of the political. However, the vast majority of cases of involuntary migration and resettlement are sociocultural and/or economic processes that are inflicted upon people as the intended or unintended outcomes of particular economic courses of action and goals. In this sense, while the actual resettlement project may be defined in social or, more commonly, economic terms, the phenomenon of resettlement is fundamentally...

  12. CHAPTER EIGHT The Risks and Results of Resistance to Resettlement (pp. 233-258)

    Just as any action produces a reaction, resistance to DFDR produces concrete outcomes. Regardless of whether the resistance succeeds or fails in halting displacement or at least improving resettlement, there are other outcomes that bring consequences for the community or region that has confronted the development project. The outcomes or results of resistance may or may not fall within the original agenda or goals of the movement. Although for reasons made clear in Chapter 5, I hesitate to refer to these outcomes as losses or gains, costs and benefits; references of this order do not seem inappropriate as long as...

  13. Bibliography (pp. 259-282)
  14. Index (pp. 283-289)