Strategies of Successful Anti-Dam Movements: Evidence from Myanmar and Thailand
Kirchherr (2017). Strategies of Successful Anti-Dam Movements: Evidence from Myanmar and Thailand. Society and Natural Resources
30 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 6, 2017
Scholars are rarely able to examine anti-dam movements that result in project suspensions or cancellations since these cases are rare empirically. Yet they are central to understanding how anti-dam movements can succeed. This paper analyzes the movements against Myanmar’s Myitsone Dam and Thailand’s Kaeng Suea Ten Dam. Likely the most successful anti-dam movements in Southeast Asia in recent years, they achieved suspension over six and 37 years, respectively. The research is based on 60 semi-structured interviews carried out over a period of eight months. Leveraging thinking from both the constructionist and structural schools within the field of social movement studies, it is found that the framing of the Myitsone Dam as a project threatening the national cultural heritage of Myanmar (in combination with political change in the country in 2010/2011) largely explains the movement’s success. Meanwhile, the set of sophisticated tactics (including inter alia demonstrations, Thai Baan research, 24/7 monitoring of the dam site, and spiritual activities) was decisive for the efficacy of the movement against Thailand’s Kaeng Suea Ten Dam.
Keywords: Social Movements, Anti-Dam Movements, Protests, Large Dams, Myanmar, Myitsone Dam, Thailand, Kaeng Suea Ten Dam, Issue Framing, Political Opportunity Structures
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