Power Dynamics in Development-Induced Resettlement


The undertaking of resettlement in development projects is often a controversial process that has attracted a lot of debate and activism. Resettlement, often involuntary, results from projects aimed at providing resources such as water, electricity, housing, etc., typically to the masses. The irony of this process, however, is that while it is usually claimed to be “development-driven”, it subsequently leaves those who are forced to make way for development in worse-off socio-economic conditions in many cases. Resettlement, research shows, may also negatively affect forced resettlers psychologically, culturally and otherwise. While many countries, and sectors within countries, have made significant strides in the formulation of policies that are supposedly meant to inform resettlement processes towards the restoration and/or improvement of projects-affected lives, it remains that on the ground, some situations do not necessarily reflect the provisions of policies in a substantial manner. This research aims to understand and provide an analysis of the impact of policies on resettlement processes and outcomes. The paper specifically interrogates power dynamics in resettlement processes and how power, as a commodity some possess over others, plays a role in the implementation, and therefore, the outcomes of policies on resettlement. Ultimately, this research’s long-term goal is to provide basis, for the development of a framework that can inform national resettlement policy making in the Southern African region, as none of the countries in Southern Africa, has a resettlement specific policy at the national level. Empirical research is currently undertaken in Lesotho with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

Author Information
Teboho Mosuoe-Tsietsi, Rhodes University, South Africa
Chris de Wet, Rhodes University, South Africa

Paper Information
Conference: ECSS2015
Stream: Anthropology

This paper is part of the ECSS2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon