To dam or not to dam in an age of anthropocene: Insights from a genealogy of media discourses

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_94C433C69835
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Title
To dam or not to dam in an age of anthropocene: Insights from a genealogy of media discourses
Journal
Anthropocene
Author(s)
Flaminio Silvia, Piégay Hervé, Lay Yves-François Le
ISSN
2213-3054
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2021
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
36
Pages
100312
Language
english
Abstract
Numerous studies have highlighted the negative consequences of dams (long-term alterations of Earth systems and social and economic injustices), and have questioned the sustainability of dams, i.e., the capacity of dams to meet the social, economic, and environmental needs of the current generation without compromising the needs of future generations. After having stalled in the 1990 s, dam construction has entered a new period of growth. Recent research has shown that this new phase in dam building can be explained by the promotion of hydropower as clean energy. To clarify the continuing debate on the construction of dams, particularly on their impacts and sustainability into the future, this paper examines the discourses on dams within the public domain. We used a collection of newspaper articles published in Le Monde from 1945 to 2019 on dams that were planned and built throughout the world (n = 1471). Results show a rise of different discourses on water infrastructure, which with time deal less with positive technical appraisals and more with controversies. Since the mid-2000 s, new arguments are defended (green energy) and new controversial discourses on the social and economic sustainability of dams (bearability, equitability) have emerged along with environmental questions (greenhouse gas footprint). These discourses reveal different understandings of sustainability which increase the complexity of the debate on dams. Results from this study suggest a need for a stronger dialogue between the scientific and public domains on the impacts of dams. Knowledge transfer and exchange would be particularly beneficial on ‘renewable energy’ and ‘green energy,’ and alternative modes of governance regarding dams.
Keywords
Dams, Discourse, Genealogical approach, Hydropower, Sustainability
Create date
09/11/2021 12:03
Last modification date
09/11/2021 12:05
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