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Transnational political economic structures: explaining transnational environmental movements against dams in the lower Mekong region

Young, S; Ear, S; (2021) Transnational political economic structures: explaining transnational environmental movements against dams in the lower Mekong region. Third World Quarterly , 42 (12) pp. 2993-3011. 10.1080/01436597.2021.1984224. Green open access

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Abstract

Influenced by regional economic integration and politics, the transboundary common water resources in the lower Mekong River are being exploited by the riparian states for hydroelectric dam development at the expense of local livelihoods and the environment. Affected communities and non-governmental organisations – formed into ‘transnational environmental movements’ (TEMs) in the framework of transnational activism – have challenged these riparian states to abandon dam construction on the main stream of the Mekong River. This paper explores the conditions that undermine TEMs’ ability to cancel dam projects in the region. This paper argues that, among several other factors, TEMs were unable to halt construction of the dam primarily due to the transnational political economic structures (TPES) of the riparian states that possess hydroelectric dams on the Mekong mainstream. TPES shape the sovereign power of the riparian states in making decisions regarding extracting economic value from the common water resource of the Mekong at the expense of the environment rather than complying with the demands of TEMs. By factoring TPES into understanding the outcomes of TEMs, this paper contributes to the understanding of political opportunity structures and transnational networks of transboundary movements, and of the political economy of the Mekong transboundary resources.

Type: Article
Title: Transnational political economic structures: explaining transnational environmental movements against dams in the lower Mekong region
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2021.1984224
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2021.1984224
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139837
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