Multi-Causal Pathways of Public Opposition to Dam Projects in Asia: A Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA)

Kirchherr, J., Charles, K.J. and Walton, M.J. (2016). Multi-causal pathways of public opposition to dam projects in Asia: A fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). Global Environmental Change, 41: 33-45

80 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2017

See all articles by Julian Kirchherr

Julian Kirchherr

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development

Katrina Charles

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment

Matthew Walton

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College

Date Written: August 27, 2016

Abstract

Scholars overwhelmingly adopt the case study method when analyzing causal conditions inducing anti-dam-protests. We have carried out the first medium-N-study on this topic analyzing public opposition to 12 dam projects in Asia. For this purpose, we employ a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) which is based on a thorough review of scholarly writings and press reports on the dam projects at question as well as an online survey and semi-structured interviews. We identify two causal recipes sufficient for the emergence of significant anti-dam-protests. First, lacking social safeguards in combination with the presence of political opportunity structures and higher levels of development are sufficient for significant anti-dam-protests to emerge. Second, lacking social safeguards in combination with rampant corruption and environmental risk induce these protests. Current scholarly literature particuarly emphasizes political opportunity structures and development as causal conditions inducing significant protests. Our findings build on this literature to highlight the importance of project-specific conditions.

Keywords: Dams; Hydropower; Social movements; Public protests; fsQCA

Suggested Citation

Kirchherr, Julian and Charles, Katrina and Walton, Matthew, Multi-Causal Pathways of Public Opposition to Dam Projects in Asia: A Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) (August 27, 2016). Kirchherr, J., Charles, K.J. and Walton, M.J. (2016). Multi-causal pathways of public opposition to dam projects in Asia: A fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). Global Environmental Change, 41: 33-45. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2956654

Julian Kirchherr (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development ( email )

Heidelberglann 2
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands

Katrina Charles

University of Oxford - School of Geography and Environment ( email )

Oxford University Centre for the Environment
South Parks Road
Oxford, OX1 3QY
United Kingdom

Matthew Walton

University of Oxford - Saint Antony’s College ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

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