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Estudios atacameños

On-line version ISSN 0718-1043

Abstract

HIDALGO-BASTIDAS, Juan Pablo. Water, technology and governmentality: territorial reconfiguration around the Chone multipurpose mega-dam in Ecuador. Estud. atacam. [online]. 2019, n.63, pp.209-232. ISSN 0718-1043.  http://dx.doi.org/10.22199/issn.0718-1043-2019-0035.

Historically, mega-dams have been imagined and built by hydraulic experts to govern and allocate water. Although these dams have some important benefits, their positive effects are often highly overrated while their socio-environmental and economic impacts on local populations are fairly underestimated. Despite this, in many Andean countries the construction of such projects is being resumed as indispensable and unfailing. Mega-dams are promoted by self-defined left-wing progressive governments as modern ways of water governance, closely related to development, ‘good living’ and wellbeing discourses. This article shows through the Chone multipurpose mega-dam in coastal Ecuador, the discursive use of technology that is involved in its construction and implementation process. It furthermore analyzes and shows that these water technologies not only inflict material changes, but also social, cultural and agro-productive territorial transformations. The article concludes that megadams should be understood as powerful governmentality tools since they are imposed not only by coercive forms of power, but also through more inclusive forms that justify and legitimize their development.

Keywords : territorial reconfiguration; governmentality; water governance; megadams; Ecuador.

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