The first book to document the resistance movements of people and communities threatened with involuntary displacement and resettlement by development projects around the world.
The uprooting and displacement of people has long been among the hardships associated with development and modernity. Indeed, the circulation of commodities, currency, and labor in modern society necessitates both social and spatial mobility. However, the displacement and resettlement of millions of people each year by large-scale infrastructural projects raises serious questions about the democratic character of the development process.
Although designed to spur economic growth, many of these projects leave local people struggling against serious impoverishment and gross violations of human rights. Working from a political-ecological perspective, Anthony Oliver-Smith offers the first book to document the fight against involuntary displacement and resettlement being waged by people and communities around the world.
Increasingly over the last twenty-five years, the voices of people at the grass roots are being heard. People from many societies and cultures are taking action against development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) and articulating alternatives. Taking the promise of democracy seriously, they are fighting not only for their place in the world, but also for their place at the negotiating table, where decisions affecting their well-being are made.
- Chapter One. Disasters of Development: Development Forced Displacement and Resettlement
- Chapter Two. Understanding Resistance: Combating the Violence of Development
- Chapter Three. The People in the Way
- Chapter Four. Contested Landscapes: Development, Ecological Upheaval, and Resistance
- Chapter Five. Challenging the Economics of Displacement: Evaluating Risks and Compensating Losses
- Chapter Six. The Lake of Memory: Cultural Discourses of Resistance
- Chapter Seven. Confronting Goliath: The Politics of DFDR Resistance
- Chapter Eight. The Risks and Results of Resistance to Resettlement
At the end of the twentieth century, following the collapse of its socialist challenger, the dominant Western model of development stood triumphant as the guide to improving human welfare. However, even as the socialist model began its precipitous decline, alternative interpretations of development had begun to emerge. These new approaches were not based on class conflict, although in some sense they included it, but on the discourses of the environment and human rights. Confronting the current neo-liberal version of the dominant model, voices articulating other interpretations and practices of development and advocating greater emphasis on social justice and environmental sustainability have appeared among many regions and peoples who have been forced to deal with a wide variety of losses, costs, and calamities brought about by misguided policies and projects. As Coronil points out, "In social spaces organized under neo-liberal global conditions, collective identities are being constructed in unprecedented ways through a complex articulation of such sources of identification as religion, territoriality, race, class, ethnicity, gender and nationality, but now informed by universal discourses of human rights, international law, ecology, feminism, cultural rights and other means of respecting difference within equality" (2001, p. 82).
In the past several years, violent and nonviolent demonstrations have disrupted successive meetings of the World Trade Organization; also, well-organized campaigns protesting the imposition of structural adjustment and privatization programs dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been frequent occurrences in many venues around the world.
Increasingly over the last twenty-five years, the grassroots protests against and resistance to what some have called "big development" and others have labeled "development aggression" (Heijmans, 2001, p. 5) are being heard. This approach to development is chiefly characterized by capital-intensive, high-technology, large-scale development projects that convert farmlands, fishing grounds, forests, and homes into dam-created reservoirs, irrigation schemes, mining operations, plantations, colonization projects, highways, industrial complexes, tourist resorts, and other large-scale forms of use favoring national or global interests over those of people at the local level. Putatively designed to spur economic growth and spread general welfare, many of these projects have left local people displaced, disempowered, and destitute. People around the world, from many different societies and cultures, urban and rural, proximate and remote, are raising their voices and taking action against development forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR), which was characterized recently as "development cleansing" that is analogous to the ethnic cleansing inflicted on minority populations by the Bosnian government (Rajagopal, 2001). Media coverage of the major violations of human and environmental rights, as well as of the protests themselves, have given some of these projects, like the Three Gorges or the Sardar Sarovar dam projects, a high public profile and have embarrassed developers, governments, and multilateral funding agencies. The struggles of these local communities against their national governments and international capital have thrust them into the midst of global development politics.
Uprooting and displacement have long been among the privations associated with development and modernity. Indeed, the economic model on which modern society is essentially organized articulates and requires both a social and spatial mobility as essential to the circulation of commodities, currency, and labor that vitalizes the model itself. The core concept and element of the Western model, capital, in its circulation and reproduction drives a process of continual social transformation that we have ideologically glossed at the individual level as freedom and self-realization. Displacement, virtually accepted as a way of life by First World elites, is disguised as natural, simply the workings out of the market, when in fact it is actually a form of structural violence (Farmer, 2004; Kothari & Harcourt, 2004). The means and context of transformation, also understood as the concept of progress, are encompassed in the process of ever-expanding production for realizing exchange value in markets.
Indeed, there are many social and economic processes that set people in motion, and many of them involve a degree of volition. According to varying conditions, people move to change or improve their lives. They move with the idea that things can be better somewhere else. The extraordinary processes of migration and urbanization of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries attest to the degree to which people will set themselves in motion and will embrace changes. Of course, the degree of coercion experienced by many "voluntary" migrants should not go unrecognized. The successive waves of migration that arrived on North American shores in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were partly the outcome of a series of environmental, political, and economic disasters in Europe. Recent migratory patterns from the south to the northern industrialized nations are equally the result of stressful economic and political conditions, often the direct or indirect outcome of intentional policy decisions. Recently, the United States has gone to considerable effort to enact a somewhat contorted distinction between so-called voluntary "economic migrants" and involuntary "political refugees," a distinction that largely depends on the political character of the regime of the sending country. Thus, Cubans are automatically refugees while Haitians are economic migrants and therefore subject to return (Holman, 1996).
Certainly, we all currently confront a myriad of globalized forms of change and may sometimes be obliged to move, adjust, and reinvent ourselves as individuals, sometimes with dislocations and discontinuities of varying intensity. Indeed, as Lifton suggested more than thirty years ago, the rapidly changing circumstances of technological and social change virtually oblige everyone to engage this process of reinvention of the self (1970). However, the radical changes confronting people uprooted by development are of a different order. Development forced displacement and resettlement requires a reinvention of self and community that is far more profound than what we face under the "normal" pace of rapid social and cultural change.
The central problem of displacement and resettlement is essentially the uprooting of people and the destruction of homes and communities in the name of progress. However, for all people, self-determination and sovereignty over their natural resources are rights that are recognized by international law. The fact that these rights are also claimed by states, along with rights to develop resources for the national interest, poses a difficult problem to reconcile, particularly within the framework of international norms, which say that development should not be undertaken at the expense of human rights (Caruso, Colchester, Mackat, Hilyard, & Nettleton, 2003, p. 3). Nonetheless, opposition to such development processes is still seen as tantamount to standing in the way of progress and national security, a position that is attributed to those threatened with displacement not only for their actions but often for their very identity as well. The idea of progress is intimately woven into the cultural fabric of the West, providing a major ideological justification of colonialism and other forms of economic expansion. In the modern worldview, human beings and their conditions of life are both improvable and amenable to the ministrations of science and rationality. Implicit in this perspective's most overtly racist forms in nineteenth century social Darwinism, certain populations and cultures were seen as representing obstacles to progress. The subjugation or disappearance of such peoples was considered to be an acceptable price for the overall progress, the upward movement, of human culture and society. Such attitudes still lie just under the surface of many development agendas today, which have been described as driven by "an ideology of high modernism" (Scott, 1998, p. 4).
However, the sacrifices made in the name of progress have also been noticed. In the early nineteenth century the great German poet and playwright Goethe, witnessing the increasing contradictions of contemporary European technological and economic expansion, captured the moral complexities of development and displacement even up to this day and age in his epic drama, Faust. In a penetrating critique of the psychological and social costs of the development process, Goethe's hero, Faust, sells his soul to Mephistopheles for the God-like power and knowledge to create, to develop. Mephistopheles tells Faust that it is only through destruction that anything is created in the world and that there is no morality in this process of destruction-creation, so assuming blame for the loss inflicted is pointless. Life is both destruction and creation and therefore the truly creative can be rid of guilt and act freely (Berman, 1982, p. 48).
As Faust begins his final triumphant project, an elderly couple, Philemon and Baucis, refuse to be relocated to make way for its construction and block his progress. To entice them to move from their coastal homesite, Faust offers the aged couple a cash settlement or resettlement to a new home. However, they refuse his offers, preferring to remain where they can continue to live meaningful lives by providing service to shipwrecked sailors and wanderers. Frustrated by their refusal to be moved, Faust mutters:
Resistance and such stubbornness
Thwart the most glorious success,
Till in the end, to one's disgust
One would as soon no more be just.
(Goethe, 1963, p. 445)
In the end, the power of the developer is served, and the resistance of the elderly couple is overcome. Moreover, Faust simply orders their removal, not wishing to be involved or to know how it is done. He is interested only in the end result. The land must be cleared by the next morning so construction can proceed. As Berman notes, this approaches a modern, delegated form of evil; it is impersonal, for perpetrator and victim are separated by bureaucratic roles and the internal complexity of modern organizations (Bauman, 1989; Berman, 1982, p. 67). The following day Mephistopheles jovially informs Faust that he and his henchmen have murdered the old couple and burned their house down. Faust is horrified by the violence that he protests he had no intention of initiating. The chorus mockingly intones:
The Ancient word still makes good sense:
Succumb at once to violence!
If you are bold and don't give in,
Then risk your house and home and—skin.
(Goethe, 1963, p. 453).
The Concept of Development
Examining the many and diverse forms of projects that involve displacement and resettlement (and resistance) inevitably thrusts one into the midst of the debate on development itself. Behind the concept of development lie some of our most fundamental notions about the world, about growth, about progress, about nature, and perhaps from the point of view of social implications, about race and class as well. Development as a concept first emerged, becoming a major theme in international economic and political discourse, in the post-World War II era.
The Second World War radically altered the structure of international relations, shifting power away from Western Europe toward the United States and the Soviet Union. The role of the United States in shaping post-war international politics is well known. The creation of the United Nations, the formation of the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank, the IMF, and subsequent agencies), and the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe all resulted from the efforts of and expressed the political interests of the United States (Rist, 1997). In the rapidly changing post-war international climate of independence movements and increasing Soviet bloc power, President Truman's inaugural address of 1949 laid out four fundamental points that would come to characterize post-war international relations: support for the new organization called the United Nations; the reconstruction of Europe through the Marshall Plan; the formation of a military alliance (NATO) to confront the Soviets; and aid to the poor nations of the world, especially those who would soon emerge from colonial status to nationhood. With these four points the American president articulated the structure of international relations for the next half century, which would be dominated by the ideological and political agenda of the world's most powerful nation (Rist, 1997, pp. 73-75). Development became part of the American post-war political agenda.
Regarding the fourth point: as Truman phrased it, ". . . we must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas" (Public Papers of the Presidents, January 20, 1949, pp. 114-115, as cited in Rist, 1997, p. 71). The key term in Truman's speech, which defined what came to be known as the Point Four Program, is, of course, "underdeveloped." Although not unheard of, the term as used in that context replaced the colonizer/colonized opposition, once defined by the now-depleted political power of a fallen Europe, with a new dichotomy of developed/underdeveloped, which was defined in economic terms by the overwhelming political and economic power of the United States. As Rist notes, "Point Four simply imposed a new standard whereby the United States stood at the top: Gross National Product" (1997, p. 76). Using this yardstick, and conveniently forgetting the entire history of European colonialism, if a nation was underdeveloped, it could become developed by adopting U.S. scientific knowledge and technology, intensifying production, and expanding international trade, allegedly replicating the process through which developed nations had passed. Development, in effect, became a model for achieving progress through ever-expanding growth and consumption fueled by public and private investment in infrastructure, production capability, and expanding markets.
Between 1945 and 1960, the Point Four Program and its successor plans for the underdeveloped world, along with the Marshall Plan for Europe, articulated a core concept—development—around which a new framework for international relations would be shaped, a set of institutions (the World Bank, IMF, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Finance Corporation, etc.) established to further the development paradigm, and new markets opened up and expanded for U.S. enterprises. National governments eventually added their own agencies designed to assist developing nations enter the development age. Consistently framing development as a model of economic growth based on the application of scientific knowledge, increases in productivity, and expansion of international trade for the common good, the post-war development paradigm was ultimately the expression of U.S. ideology, influence, and interests (Rist, 1997, p. 78). American politicians and scholars would play significant roles in the emergence and expansion of development discourse both intellectually, in terms of modernization theory, and programmatically, in the financing and delivery of various forms of assistance.
Over the next quarter century, in the context of continuing tensions between the West (led by the United States) and the East (led by the Soviet Union), development discourse took on the form of a debate between the model of growth based on capitalist development and the model of revolution based on radical redistribution of power and wealth (Berger, 1976). Development investment in infrastructure, but most especially in the formation of economic and financial structures and organizations in developing nations, reflected Western geopolitical priorities. Both models, however, shared similar emphases on the expansion of productive and systemic infrastructure and promised the Third World, as it came to be known, that development would be the outcome of their respective policies. As the ideological conflict and competition between the capitalist West and the socialist East sharpened over the direction the emerging nations of the post-colonial era would take, promised development became both the means and the goal for global ideological victory in the cold war. For the post-colonial states, development models and strategies from both camps became legitimizing ideologies that justified, indeed demanded, that the state produce the institutional conditions and infrastructure for development (A. D. Smith, 1986, as cited in C. Smith, 1996, p. 27). The all-but-complete demise of the socialist model of development has done little to alter that emphasis. Today, in the current trend toward privatization of infrastructural projects, capital still looks to the state for institutional support and frequently for financial guarantees. The state, for its part, increasingly seeks to engage the vaunted efficiency and cost effectiveness of the private sector, as well as to transfer responsibility for outcomes and impacts.
Despite the increasingly insistent call from many sectors of global society for redefining development in broader terms of social and environmental justice, other than the inclusion of a rhetoric of sustainability, economic definitions and approaches largely continue to both orient and mobilize resources and actions in pursuit of other goals. Development continues to be defined by those with the power to implement their ideas, for whom it is the process through which the productive forces of economies and supporting infrastructures are improved through public and private investment with eventual benefits ensuing for broader sectors of the population through the functioning of labor and commodity markets. The model also implies that economies of scale are a more efficient use of resources, thereby justifying increases in scope and cost of ever larger projects.
Although increasingly contested, big development still involves the frequently large-scale transformation of both natural and built environments through construction of such projects as dams, roads, irrigation systems, pipelines, and energy resources, aimed eventually at generating and supporting both agricultural and industrial growth, and with them, increased national and per capita incomes. Furthermore, with the newly appreciated value of biodiversity as a sustaining element of natural cycles of renewability, the development process also involves the establishment of national parks and reserves. Escobar, however, has mordantly noted that biodiversity becomes a development issue when it is constructed as a sustaining element in the reproduction of capital (1999). Environments that have been previously seen as hopelessly remote and useless acquire value as the source of exchangeable commodities and are reconfigured by human institutions and human technology. Thus, biodiversity, fundamental as it is to the reproduction of life, can also be easily transformed by development into a commodity in the pursuit of capital. These largely economic definitions and approaches to the development process are ideologically consistent with predominately Western cultural models that privilege economic rationality and productionist goals. The expansion of infrastructure is considered virtually synonymous with development and has been a paramount goal of nations past and present seeking economic growth.
Generally, infrastructural and productive development is considered to produce benefits that far outweigh any costs that such processes might entail. Here economics is seen to contain its own internal morality in terms of benefits outweighing costs. Economic development therefore becomes "doing good." In many ways, any costs occasioned by infrastructural and productive development have been externalized, to be absorbed either by the environment through resource exploitation and waste processing or by the general population when social, cultural, and economic disadvantages occur. The effects of the externalization of the costs of development are realized in serious impacts on the environment and in a transformation of people through the reduction of an enormous diversity of life ways into a significantly reduced set of social, cultural, and economic relationships that are compatible with the industrialized forms of production that form the basis of current development models.
While the paths that this process follows at the ground level are numerous and varied, at the institutional level they can generally be subsumed into the two large-scale transformative trajectories of increased integration into the state and the market. People who remain outside or only partially within the threshold of these institutions are considered underdeveloped, or, at best, undeveloped. There is an assumption that such a condition is unacceptable and that an obligation exists to develop such people, however the process may be defined.
Although some consider development to be the central organizing concept of our time (Cowen & Shenton, 1996, p. 27), the increasingly contested status of the term now calls into question not only its definition, but the extent of the organization it allegedly engenders. Despite some superficial consensus that development should refer to some idea of progress or improvement, the concept has come to mean many things to many people. Twenty-five years ago Peter Berger noted that development had become a kind of myth of redemptive transformation (1976). "Development" was the label that was given to the wished-for state of the future, what you wanted to become. The term became a kind of window through which a promised land might be glimpsed. Once glimpsed, such a vision could be used as justification for a variety of means.
There is no question about the power of the concept, however it is defined, to mobilize people, resources, and institutions. But today, perhaps more than an organizing concept, development has become the major arena for discussion of the serious political, economic, social, and environmental questions that currently energize debates about the nature of society. The substance of those debates is the basic qualities of development itself. In many ways, rather than being an end state or condition for a society to strive for, development has become the focus of a debate about society, about what a society should be and what it should provide and require of its members. Because there are few uniform responses to these queries, development is becoming more of an interpretive frame within which societies debate the kind of future they want and construct images of what they wish to be rather than a set of concrete goals.
Consequently, the social, economic, political, and environmental features that characterize development are now at play. The means and the methods of attaining these features form the core of global debate, even to the extent that the goal of development is being questioned by approaches that suggest that there might be alternatives to development. Such approaches contend that development, as it has been defined by dominant nations, institutions, and organizations, does not bring the kind of results that are satisfying and fulfilling to all people. Those that question the dominant models of development do not reject the need to alleviate the grinding poverty that afflicts roughly half the globe, but neither do they embrace the consumerism and accumulation that characterize "modern" societies, particularly at the expense of the social, cultural, and environmental integrity that these elements undermine. Development elites, the experts and professionals from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, multilateral organizations, now find themselves enmeshed in debates that fundamentally question not only their right to define development as well as the wisdom and ethics of their formulations, but also the very epistemological grounding that their definitions and formulations are based upon. The substance of these debates revolves around the destruction that certain forms of development bring about.
The Costs of Development
Goethe's narrative of the demise of Philemon and Baucis allowed him to launch a bitter commentary on events of his own time and on things to come. For two hundred years before Goethe and for nearly two hundred years after him, myriad cultures have succumbed and environments have been swept away in the name of development, always justified by some idea of progress, of greater good for greater numbers. The old but quintessentially modernist saying, "If you want to make an omelet, you've got to break some eggs" has often been used to justify the costs that certain forms of development impose. Unfortunately, the phrase tends to gloss over the fact that those with the fewest eggs too frequently see them get broken for the development omelet. Nor does it reveal what kind of eggs get broken for the development omelet. And, not to beat the metaphor to death, frequently reasonable and sustainable eggs get broken while the omelets that get made are all too often inedible, if not downright poisonous. When people are displaced by development projects of whatever stripe or order, the disruption and trauma that are inflicted may be profound, an unintentional result perhaps, but one that has been considered by decision-makers to be an acceptable risk or cost, whether or not efforts are made to mitigate it.
People displaced by development, now many millions a year, face enormous material losses, as well as the radical necessity of reinvention of self and community. Resettlement imposes forces and conditions on people that may completely transform their lives, evoking profound changes in environment, in productive activities, in social organization and interaction, in leadership and political structure, and in world view and ideology. Resettlement means uprooting people from the environments in which the vast majority of their meaningful activities have taken place and on which much of their understanding of life is based. They may be relocated in a new place about which they have little firsthand knowledge and experience.
Place and space are key concepts in the problem of resettlement. A sense of place plays a central role in individual and collective identity formation, in the way time and history are encoded and contextualized, and in interpersonal, community, and intercultural relations (Altman & Low, 1992; Malkki, 1992; Rodman, 1992). The feelings of loss associated with displacement and resettlement reveal how important a sense of place is in the creation of an "environment of trust" in which space, kin relations, local communities, cosmology, and tradition are linked (Giddens, 1990, p. 102, as cited in Rodman, 1992, p. 648). The human need for an environment of trust is fundamental to the sense of order and predictability implied by culture, and threats of removal from these spatial and symbolic environments are profoundly disrupting. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that resistance or hostility to the idea of resettlement has been characterized as "normal and . . . expected," indeed, virtually inevitable (Cernea, 1988, p. 15).
The strategic displacement of peoples for purposes of various public policies is documented in historical sources as ancient as Herodotus and the Bible. The expropriation and appropriation of territory for economic goals has an almost equally antique tradition. Although displacement of people for public goals probably emerged with the expansion of prehistoric states roughly six thousand years ago, some have speculated that displacement of communities that is driven by the goal of economic growth perhaps first appeared in the process of the English enclosure movement of the thirteenth century, during which estate common lands were privatized and peasant farmers were thrown off the land to make way for more lucrative sheep ranching (Drydyk & Elliott, 2001). The expansion of European colonialism from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries saw many examples of forced displacement of subordinated populations to further the expansion of market exchange and capitalist production, as plantations, farms, and ranches were staked out, forests felled, mines excavated, canals dug, and roads laid. Much of the history of Native American-white contact and interaction involves white land appropriation and resettlement schemes, both violent and nonviolent, and subsequent Native American responses to these efforts (Fixico, 1990; S. Levine & Lurie, 1968).
Post-colonial elites, in rejecting European political hegemony, nonetheless have in large measure heartily embraced the spatial and temporal scales and forms of Western development models and the resulting projects that necessitate the displacement of thousands, even millions of people (Nandy, 1998). Although considered a shockingly conservative estimate, the World Bank calculated that publicly and privately funded development projects, ranging in scale from the Three Gorges Dam in China (1.3 million to be uprooted) to dislocation of sections of urban communities by roadway or building construction, displaced approximately 10 million people a year in the 1990s (McDowell, 1996, p. 2). Michael Cernea, former chief sociologist for the World Bank, now asserts that the figure is closer to 15 million people displaced by development projects each year (Cernea, personal communication, September 26, 2005). It must be recognized that the great majority of these people in being uprooted have suffered some form of violation of their basic human and environmental rights. They have been uprooted against their will, and their communities have been destroyed, often before their eyes, by forms of development ranging from tourist resorts to hydropower and urban renewal. The century we are now beginning promises much more of the same.
Development and Democracy
The transformative processes entailed by development in general do not occur without considerable cultural and social discontinuity and quite often conflict (B. Moore, 1966; Wolf, 1982). As socioculturally diverse peoples around the world are subsumed into globalized forms of governance and exchange, their economies, societies, and cultures are profoundly transformed. While such transformations may be welcomed and readily adapted to in some cases, the ensuing shift in economics, politics, and culture may prove profoundly disturbing. The change from diversified production for use to monocropping production for exchange and the sale of labor alter basic economic relations. The increased presence of the state in the form of regulation, control, and taxation may simply bring new forms of oppression. The general commodification and monetization of life, with all the related cultural changes in values, consumption patterns, gender and power relations, and a myriad of other domains, may be tenaciously resisted. These changes are experienced as losses of resources, culture, identity, and autonomy and as violations of basic human rights.
The discussion surrounding these necessary transformations has included the perspective that democratic regimes are not necessarily the most efficient means of achieving development (Haggard, 1990; Khagram, 1999). All societies construct social arrangements for the allocation of goods and resources. Regardless of the character of the society, this allocation is to a great extent a function of the distribution of power in the society. Consequently, the form and means through which power is generated and distributed will greatly condition the production and distribution of resources, particularly in the service of development. Since one aspect of development is that it requires investment of surpluses in the construction of infrastructure, such expenditures preclude the use of funds to address immediate needs. A central proposition of democracy is that government policies and expenditures should reflect the public will. Democratic regimes are thus subject to pressures to allocate resources for consumption needs at the expense of investment for growth and development. For this reason, authoritarian regimes are, some have argued, more efficient in allocating resources for growth since they are unhampered by pressures to distribute surpluses for immediate consumption needs. Authoritarian regimes are also freer to restrict the activities of opponents to their ideologies and policies (Haggard, 1990; Khagram, 1999). The recent robust growth rates of Asian economies such as those in Malaysia and Singapore have been cited as examples of successful development in which authoritarian regimes have placed development goals over individual rights and democracy (Ignatieff, 2001, p. 62).
Conversely, democratic regimes have been considered more favorable for other approaches to development, such as those that favor public investment in human capital. Within approaches favoring investment in infrastructure, education, training, and health were often categorized as forms of consumption to be postponed, , but they are now seen as important for development, even when narrowly defined in terms of economic growth (Khagram, 1999, p. 36). However, the existence of democratic regimes does not guarantee that the development process will respond more directly to immediate human needs. Powerful interest groups within democratic societies have frequently been able to direct the development process toward ends that compete with immediate public needs, but in democracies there is, at least, greater room for debate over these allocations.
The question of development and democracy takes on considerable importance in relation to DFDR because the forms of development that generate projects that require DFDR are generally large-scale infrastructural projects that absorb from national treasuries enormous amounts of economic resources that might otherwise be employed to address immediate needs. In its crudest form, political power can be thought of as the ability to move people and things about the landscape in any way you see fit. When one considers the whole phenomenon of development-forced resettlement, that perspective, crude as it may be, is remarkably apt. Development-forced resettlement is, in many ways, the ultimate expression of a state's monopoly on the management of violence in conjunction with ambitious engineering projects, freed from all other nonpolitical power and institutions of social self-management and able to exert ultimate control over the location of people and things within its territory (Bauman, 1989, p. xiii). Conversely, to be resettled is one of the most acute expressions of powerlessness because it constitutes a loss of control over one's physical space. The only thing left is the loss of the body. As Margaret Rodman so cogently notes, "The most powerless people have no place at all"(1992, p. 650).
The process of DFDR, when undertaken despite the opposition of affected peoples or when accomplished without participation by and benefits for affected peoples, calls into question the entire relationship between this form of development and democracy, particularly democracy as expressed through respect for human and civil rights. Furthermore, the capacity of people to protest, resist, and influence DFDR policies and projects may constitute an important test of the democratic character of a particular regime.
In current debates alternative approaches to development favor environmental and ethical considerations revolving around notions of sustainability as well as human and environmental rights. Indeed, this form of development discourse now questions the fundamental social, cultural, and economic assumptions of development and purports to offer alternative conceptualizations that produce benefits and reduce costs at specific local levels, as opposed to large-scale efforts for more generalized beneficiary populations who assume fewer risks and costs. The fundamental position adopted by these opponents of current development practice is an ethical one based on a concept of human rights.
Ethics, Global Norms, and Transnational Civil Society
Development and human rights discourses both emerged as important issues of public discourse and debate in the post-World War II era. Development became one theme in the ideological debate between the capitalist and socialist worlds, with both sides placing the concept of human rights at the forefront of their arguments. In their assertions, each side adopted a moral position that its model, as opposed to the alternative, provided for and guaranteed certain basic human rights. One camp privileged the civil and political rights (freedom of expression, movement, congregation); the other foregrounded economic and social rights (freedom from want, freedom from exploitation and appropriation). Clearly, the emphasis on one kind of rights did not preclude attention to other kinds of rights, such as in the security of private or public property. In effect, each model claimed that by following its guidelines, political and economic rights would be both protected and developed for the general well-being of national populations. In effect, each side justified its theoretical constructs and its practical strategies for the development of societies, particularly those of the post-colonial world, on the basis of a concept of rights.
Out of these differing concepts of rights, and most especially out of the ideological struggle between the two interpretations, emerged a generalized moral obligation to develop post-colonial societies in ways that would enhance and develop human rights, particularly those privileged by each model. The moral obligation to develop is based on a number of ethical principles regarding human relationships and the relationship between people and resources. Generally speaking, development as a goal of public policy is aimed at improving the levels of welfare of the global population. Well-being and poverty are clearly distributed unequally among the world's populations. Thus, it is a generally held moral principle that the levels of impoverishment enormous numbers of people around the world currently endure are intolerable and morally unacceptable and require directed action to reduce and ultimately eradicate. There are two general routes toward the reduction of these morally unacceptable conditions: addressing resource distribution inequities and enhancing productive capability. Generally speaking, reigning economic models and policies—created and applied by hegemonic national governments and multilateral development agencies through various forms of discipline, such as loan conditionalities, Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP), etc.—have so shaped local realities that redistributional options have been excluded in favor of concerted efforts at enhancing productive capacity on the theory that increased production and income will filter through the system to enhance general patterns of consumption and well-being. Enhanced productive capacity is based on a principle of efficient use of resources to render their maximum value, defined largely in terms of consumer preferences domestically and earnings potential in international exchange (Penz, 1992, p. 107).
It is this principle of resource use efficiency that generally energizes nations to initiate projects that displace people. At the most fundamental level, a judgment is made that a more efficient, that is, a greater value-producing, use for resources than may currently be operating can be achieved. In essence, national governments and private developers see resources as underutilized by local populations, prompting the elaboration of projects to more efficiently exploit the economic potential of those resources. The origin of the efficiency argument is deeply embedded in the history of Western imperialism. It is first found in the arguments of Sir John Davies, who argued in 1610 regarding the eviction of Irish countrymen that if land is left in a wilderness condition, the king may lawfully grant it to people who will make it productive. John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, similarly asserted in 1629 that since the indigenous people of New England did not improve their land according to God's will, it could be lawfully taken from them, as long as they were left a little to survive on. In 1690, John Locke enshrined this idea in his principle of improvement as the origin of property rights. That is, the natural right of property is derived from its productive use (Wood, 2002, pp. 157-159).
Thus, the argument is made that if resources possessed by particular communities can be more efficiently used to produce a greater value that will be enjoyed by the general population, thus enhancing their level of development, the resources may be lawfully taken. Public and private developers ethically justify their actions in diverting such resources from inefficient use toward more value-producing outcomes with the belief that greater production will increase consumption and well-being at all levels of society. Such development goals provide a moral obligation, and greater value production provides an ethical justification for a wide variety of interventions around the world.
From this moral obligation emerged what James Ferguson has referred to as a "development industry" with major political and economic agendas to reproduce an idealized form of society (1990, p. 8). While the socialist model and agenda, which were both productionist and redistributional, have, with some few exceptions, fallen by the wayside, the capitalist model, with its agenda of transformation toward an intensified production capability stimulated by modern industrial market economies and justified morally as the best means to combat poverty and raise standards of living on a global scale, is clearly ascendant.
The moral agenda now involves not just the obligation to develop, but the right to develop as well. Both the obligation and the right to develop have involved discourses that have been heartily embraced by a majority, if not in fact the entirety, of the post-colonial world elites. Adopting both the rhetoric and practice of the development industry, post-colonial nations have worked assiduously to expand the influence of both the state and the market through major investments in infrastructure to address national priorities that are based on the ideological constructions of a utilitarian nature, private property, and a mass society based primarily on the identity of national citizenship. As a citizen of one of these nations, one has the right to development through these institutions.
Article 1, Clause 3, of the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Right to Development (adopted by General Assembly Resolution 41/128 of December 4, 1986) established that "States have the right and the duty to formulate appropriate natural development policies that aim at the constant improvement of the well being of the entire population of individuals" (Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, 1986). This concept is in some form replicated in numerous national constitutions around the world, establishing the state's right and duty to expand its capacity to serve the needs of its population. When the expression of national purpose involves infrastructural development that displaces people, the state's right of eminent domain allows for the acquisition of the necessary land, with adequate compensation to the owners. There is an assumption that such development will produce benefits for all, not just a particular community or sector within the society. There is also an implicit expectation in these assertions that the state, in asserting its right to develop, will act in an ethical fashion that respects the principles of democracy and the human rights of the people involved.
Reigning development models, promoting large-scale infrastructural projects, transform social and physical environments and espouse the concept of "the greatest good for the greatest number" rather than the rights of the less numerous and the less powerful. Although the record does not reflect it entirely, such a position assumes that the less powerful will benefit eventually, through the project itself or through a well-designed and well-implemented resettlement program. For some observers, given the current framework of economic structures and conditions, realism dictates acceptance of this development ideology. Many of these conceptualizations are based on a foundation of ethical or normative positions that are, in Western models, generally thought to be inherent in the development process, most specifically the understanding that production stimulated through market demand will improve levels of well-being for more people.
Since the 1960s, a small but persistent group of scholars and activists have insisted that, rather than possessing an inherent ethical foundation, theories and models of development must have ethical or valuational components specifically inserted in policy and project design and implementation (Crocker, 1991, p. 457). Starting in the 1970s, Goulet argued that development theory, planning, and practice must be accountable from more than a purely economic basis (1971). Peter Berger subsequently critiqued both market-driven and command approaches to development for ignoring two elements he called the calculus of pain and the calculus of meaning. Berger contended that elites from both the capitalist and socialist development models have often blithely written off the pain experienced by the poor, the displaced, and people in opposition as part of "the acceptable costs of development." The calculus of pain involves the high infant mortality, malnutrition, displacement, homelessness, social disarticulation, and political and social death that frequently accompany the different models. Attendant to those losses is the loss of a structure of meaning in which to frame and live a life that is experienced as beliefs about human relations, the environment, and the cosmos, all of which are cast away or commodified in the transformation. Considered equally as important as the scientific elements of development, development ethics addresses the definitions, goals, and means that are employed in development work, calling for "the normative or ethical assessment of the ends and means of Third World and global development"(Crocker, 1991, p. 457).
As opposed to a general understanding of development as operating within an assumed ethical framework because it was intended to do "good," the specific connection between development and ethics has also recently been apprehended by policy makers and development professionals. Some have recognized that, while traditionally defined economic development was still, in their eyes, necessary to bring about human development, there are urgent ethical problems that globalization, technology, and development produce, as shown by the persistence of the poverty in which vast sectors of the population remain submerged. The perceived failure of dominant models to address these inequalities places in doubt the goals of development and the priorities, means, and characteristics of a desirable society (Kliksberg, 2001).
While there is little questioning of the economic model in these and similar formulations, some awareness has emerged that the benefits of development have not been equitably shared nor the costs equitably borne. Critiques of the World Bank and the IMF by high-profile individuals (some of them ex-World Bank insiders) appalled at the devastating impacts these institutions' policies have had on general populations have focused on the negative impacts on overall economies, such as Third World debt and the grievous Structural Adjustment Programs and monetary policies imposed on the populations of developing nations (Goodland, 2007; Soros, 1998; Stiglitz, 2002). There is concern that IMF loan conditionalities coerce nations to accept trade, investment, financial deregulation, and privatization policies regardless of their impacts on local populations. The imposition of these forms of capitalist discipline by the World Bank and the IMF serves, some argue, to undermine the state's sovereignty and capacity to be the primary guarantor of fundamental rights and provider of basic services such as education and health. And much of the criticism of the World Bank focuses on its financing of large infrastructural projects without regard for their social and environmental impacts (Bretton Woods Project).
While these critiques are long overdue and confirm what protesters around the world have been contending for more than a decade, it remains to be seen how they will ultimately affect infrastructural development strategies that displace people in specific nations. Robert Goodland, the chief environmental advisor to the Bank, resigned in protest in 2007 over the policies implemented in recent years by bank presidents Wolfowitz and Zoellick that privilege large multinational corporations in their extraction of resources in developing nations, with little attention to major environmental and social damage. George Soros saw some encouraging signs in the 1990s in the criticisms of dependence on quantitative indicators of development outcomes (1998), but recent policies seem solidly directed toward financing high-risk projects that generate maximum GNP (see Conclusions, Chapter 8, for more information).
These critiques and earlier concerns have been interpreted by some as forming part of a shift in world politics away from struggles over power and wealth toward struggles over normative issues (Wilmer, 1993, p. 40). Almost simultaneous with the initiation of discussions of development, concern over the enormous violations of human rights that took place during World War II led to efforts to establish international standards and norms regarding the rights not only of states (and corporations), but of individual human beings. Since the end of World War II, there has been a relatively continuous spread and institutionalization of global norms and principles of various types—regulatory, constitutive, practical, and evaluative (Khagram, 1999, p. 23). Under the broad rubric of human rights, two specific applications—the environment, and the rights of indigenous peoples—have seen particularly extensive growth and diffusion to many nations around the world.
An analysis of 140 constitutions of independent countries, written in the century between 1870 and 1970, revealed a major increase in the number of states formally committed to ensuring a broad set of human rights, including civil rights, such as free speech and due process; political rights, such as the vote; and social or economic rights, such as unemployment insurance and social security. In recent years research by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the International Labour Organization, and national and international environmental advocates reveals similar steps in the constitutions that have emerged from the wave of democratization since the 1970s and that include an even greater enumeration of rights, such as those pertaining to gender justice, indigenous peoples, and other ethnic minorities. Internationally, human rights norms were among the formative principles behind the organization of the United Nations. Before the founding of the United Nations in 1948, there were no international organizations focused on human rights , but by 1990 there were 27 formally dedicated to furthering human rights (Khagram, 1999, p. 27). The diffusion of international human rights norms is critically linked to the establishment and sustainability of networks of transnational actors who can connect with international regimes to alert the public and generate opposition to situations in which rights are in jeopardy, particularly situations in the West (Risse & Sikkink, 1999, p. 3).
Similarly, a global normative framework of principles and organizations has taken shape around the issue of the environment. National environmental agencies were virtually unheard of before the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972. Since that time environmental agencies, including ministries, have been forming rapidly. By 1988 approximately 60 had been created, and roughly 40 more were developed in the period around the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. National legislation related to and regulation of environmental practice has expanded along with the growth of these organizations. Internationally, environmental norms have seen a similar expansion in the form of such organizations as the United Nations Environment Program, the Office of Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OESA) of the World Bank, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, and the Global Environmental Facility (Khagram, 1999, p. 25).
Organizations promoting the rights of indigenous peoples are far from new in specific nations, but the worldwide expansion of an indigenous movement only began to occur in the 1960s. The enormous challenges and problems faced by indigenous peoples around the world, including discrimination, confiscation of territory, violation of treaties, and exploitation and extraction of resources, have given rise to literally thousands of organizations, particularly in the post-war period of decolonization. The rise to prominence of civil rights issues and the resources to promote them in many of the industrialized nations have contributed to the emergence of a global indigenous movement, spreading from Europe and North America in the late 1960s to Latin America in the 1970s, Asia and the Pacific in the 1980s and to Africa and the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. Of the thousands of indigenous organizations, some have created national federations to address the problems that are faced at the national level. Indigenous peoples bring their concerns over rights to land and territories, the right to social and cultural freedom of expression, the right to be represented by their own institutions, and the right to consent and control over development into national and international forums, including the United Nations, the various continental associations such as the Organization of American States, and the International Labour Organization (Gray, 1996, p. 113). Increasingly, amendments safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples are being added to national constitutions around the world. Consequently, it is in this broader context of an emerging transnational civil society—more specifically, in a transnational political economy of development addressing such issues as general human rights, the environment, and the rights of indigenous peoples—that the people and organizations resisting DFDR act and in which the conflictive and cooperative relations they engage in are played out.
The dire problems confronting people who experience development-forced resettlement are central to the concerns that this expanding front of human rights, indigenous peoples, and environmental organizations is addressing. In essence, the entire topic of development forced displacement and resettlement is fraught with ethical dangers. Specific ethical formulations regarding DFDR revolve around the open contradiction between projects designed to improve development levels and the abject misery that the vast majority of them have created. Cernea's landmark article modeling the eight resettlement risks of landlessness, homelessness, joblessness, marginalization, increased morbidity, food insecurity, loss of access to common property, and social disarticulation speaks volumes about the outcomes of most resettlement projects (1997). Such projects are often justified by their capacity to stimulate economic development and improve living standards for regions or nations. The ethical dilemma posed by DFDR projects was captured succinctly by Adam Curle in discussing the removal of the Chakma people for the Kaptai Dam in Bangladesh. As he put it, there is ". . . a moral problem. How much suffering for how many may be justified by how much good for how many?" (1971, p. 105).
Early efforts to address the extremely negative outcomes of most resettlement projects began in the World Bank in the 1970s. Michael Cernea, the senior sociologist at the World Bank, asked pioneer researcher Thayer Scudder to give to Bank staff a presentation entitled "Some Policy Implications of Compulsory Relocation in Connection with River Basin Development and Other Projects: Impact Upon Low Income Populations." Scudder recommended that appraisal of resettlement needs be done by social scientists during the feasibility study stage. The requirement was subsequently included in the first resettlement guidelines in 1980, drafted by Michael Cernea (Johnston, 2005, pp. 22-23). Shortly thereafter, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) developed similar guidelines to regulate their own participation in and to minimize the adverse effects of such projects. These initial guidelines, however, left much to be desired; they allowed borrowing countries to merely restore the living standards of resettled people rather than improve their well-being through development (Scudder, 2005, p. 278). The World Bank continued efforts to refine resettlement guidelines in Operational Directive 4.30: Involuntary Resettlement (World Bank, 1990), which is the strongest policy the Bank has yet produced. O.D. 4.30 called for minimizing resettlement; improving or restoring living standards, earning capacity, and production levels; resettler participation in project activities; a resettlement plan; and valuation of and compensation for assets lost (World Bank, 1990, pp. 1-2), but it still allowed borrowers the cost-reducing option of simply restoring living standards. The 2001 iterations of Operational Policies/Best Practices (OP/BP) 4.12 were subsequently weakened, providing compensation only to landholders with formal legal title and neglecting to cover a wide range of cultural and psychological impacts (Scudder, 2005, p. 281). Nonetheless, in the opinion of many, the World Bank guidelines came to serve as a standard by which to assess the adequacy of other institutional guidelines as well as actual projects (Koenig, 2001, p. 16). There is also little question that deficient though they may be in many respects, the World Bank guidelines have helped to improve resettlement planning and implementation and to reduce the numbers of people affected by projects. However, as Scudder points out, even the Bank would not claim that income earning capacity and living standards of displaced peoples have been restored (2005, p. 278).
The motivation for the development of these guidelines can be debated. Clearly, the ethical inconsistency of development projects that generated impoverishment demanded resolution. The initiative to develop guidelines paralleled the Bank's overall interest in projects that addressed rural poverty in general (Shihata, 1993). However, the interest in safeguards was surely prompted by a number of key processes and events that took place in the 1970s. The passage, in the U.S. Congress, of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) in 1970, along with subsequent bills for clean water and clean air, inspired U.S. and international environmental activists to urge that NEPA should apply to situations in which U.S. aid was funding development projects internationally. The Carter administration, which had foregrounded human rights as a major pillar in its foreign policy, supported the effort by urging the passage of and then signing the International Financial Institutions Act of 1977, mandating U.S. opposition to loans to governments that routinely commit gross violations of human rights. The act specifically directs U.S. directors of international financial institutions to vote against loans to foreign governments or agencies that the U.S. president has found to be responsible for human rights violations (Johnston, 2005, p. 22; Kapur, Lewis, & Webb, 1997, pp. 477, 760). Since the World Bank president is always a U.S. citizen, voting for loans to governments that commit human rights violations places him in legal peril and opens the door to civil action.
However, according to Escobar, the interest in establishing guidelines was due more to rural protest and resistance and the failure of modernization theories than any transformation in the Bank's thinking (1991, p. 664). While he has a point, Suzanne Autumn cogently points out that, since institutions are rarely gifted with "either superhuman prescience or unalloyed altruism," changes in institutional policy are usually responses to changes in the real world (1994, p. 34). Certainly, the legislative and legal actions taken in the 1970s, particularly by the Carter administration, and the increasing media attention to and public recognition of resistance by local peoples to large development projects constituted just such real world changes. These changes, coupled with sharp criticism of bank financing of environmentally destructive projects by NGOs and other organizations, stimulated efforts to formulate a set of resettlement policy guidelines within the Bank (cf. Clark, Fox, & Treakle, 2003; Fox & Brown, 1998; Rich, 1994).
Based on the research and experience of multilateral staff as well as the work of independent researchers, these guidelines have recently been the subject of examination by researchers concerned with the ethics of development. Ethical scrutiny of resettlement guidelines is centered primarily around the aspects of the projects where ethical errors transpire. For development projects that displace people, Drydyk and Elliot consider the areas of greatest risk of ethical blunders to be (1) the extent of displacement, (2) equity, (3) voluntariness, (4) the consent of indigenous peoples, (5) other human rights, (6) environmental protection, (7) cultural heritage sites, and (8) compliance (2001, pp. 4-5).
While within each of these areas there are many specific concerns that focus on the role of guidelines in safeguarding the rights of people facing resettlement, Drydyk and Elliot are particularly concerned with issues that are not addressed or on which there is less than clear direction or guidance. Despite the fact that these concerns primarily involve problems that the guidelines, which focus on the project level, do not address, they also clearly involve ethical issues beyond the level of specific projects that reveal serious ethical dilemmas at the level of policy and society. These gaps, as Drydyk and Elliot call them, require further discussion.
The baseline concept against which policies and projects that displace people and communities may be assessed ethically is the human right to development, which is most clearly articulated in the United Nations General Assembly resolution 41/128 of 4 December 1986, "Declaration on the Right to Development." This document establishes in general terms an approach to development that goes beyond the economic confines of building productive infrastructure and capacity to which the concept has largely been limited in practice. The declaration adopts a broader and more normatively conceived approach directed at enhancing the well-being of the entire population. In essence, development is conceived as providing the best context "in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be realized." Paragraph two of the declaration states that
development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of the benefits resulting therefrom.
Furthermore, Article 8 asserts
States should undertake, at the national level, all necessary measures for the realization of the right to development and shall ensure, inter alia, equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services, food, housing, employment, and the fair distribution of income. (Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, 1986)
Under these conditions, it becomes fairly clear that the vast majority of projects that displace and resettle people enter into perilous ethical terrain. As de Wet points out, such projects "simultaneously promote and undermine human well-being" (2009, p. 79). Development projects that displace people are generally narrowly conceived in terms of specific economic returns, whether in terms of electricity generated, water for agriculture, transportation efficiency, or other productivity-related goals, rather than the broader distributive orientation recommended by the United Nations. As opposed to having an emphasis on equity, participation, and well-being of all the population, most projects, until relatively recently, have been characterized by a general disregard for the dislocated population. Even in circumstances in which a resettlement plan has been provided to the people facing dislocation, the vast majority of such undertakings have fallen woefully short of achieving anything like equity, participation, and well-being for the "beneficiary" population.
Thus, besides the issues of guidelines and ethics, we also have to address the issue of limits of competence. In the best of cases, adequate resettlement has been only partially achieved, and those cases are miniscule in number in comparison to the truly awful failures. Guidelines, well intentioned though they might be, will not help if we really do not know how to carry out resettlement projects that benefit the people. There is more than a fair amount of hubris involved in the idea of resettlement. "We" think "we" can do it. But resettlement is not just picking up communities and setting them down somewhere else. It really is trying to replace what has been a historical process of community evolution with an administrative process. In point of fact, resettlement (and the reconstruction of community) may not be something that is entirely amenable to administrative processes. Are there ethical constraints against engaging in actions for which the competence to achieve successful outcomes does not exist? Surely there are in medicine, engineering, law, and other professions and trades in which examinations and licenses establish competence. But competence in DFDR is still informally established. Do guidelines point toward what works or what we should avoid? How do we know "best practices" are best if a good track record of success does not exist? Given that there is a scant established canon based on successful cases, can current projects be considered a form of experimentation masked as development projects? Are there not ethical guidelines regarding experimentation in cases where we are not sure that procedures actually work? Are issues of informed consent as required of scientific research with human subjects not relevant here? Visvinathan, writing on what he calls "the laboratory state," suggests that development becomes a vast scientific experiment energized by the imperative of progress that legitimizes the use of social engineering on all objects defined as backward or retarded. The suffering that such "objects" experience in the process emerges from "the vivisectional mandate," that justifies inflicting pain in the name of scientific progress (1990).
In the matter of "informed consent," the Asian Development Bank's Handbook on Resettlement (1998) calls for resettlement and compensation decisions to be preceded by a social preparation phase to build up the capacity of the vulnerable people to deal with the issues. How is this done? How do you prepare people for this? By giving them full information, of course, but does that really prepare them for the trauma of being uprooted and the problems they will encounter in resettlement? There seems to be an unwarranted assumption in the field that the competence exists to carry out these functions. If we do know how to do this well, why have we in fact rarely done it well?
Asking why resettlement so often goes wrong, de Wet (2006) sees two broad approaches to responding to the question. The first he calls the "inadequate inputs" approach, which argues that resettlement projects fail because of a lack of appropriate inputs: national legal frameworks and policies, political will, funding, predisplacement research, careful implementation, and monitoring. Optimistic in tenor, the inadequate inputs approach posits that the risks and injuries of resettlement can be controlled and mitigated by appropriate policies and practices. De Wet, on the other hand, finds himself moving toward what he calls the "inherent complexity" approach. He argues that there is a complexity in resettlement that is inherent in "the interrelatedness of a range of factors of different orders: cultural, social, environmental, economic, institutional and political—all of which are taking place in the context of imposed space change and of local level responses and initiatives" (de Wet, 2006, p. 190). Moreover, these factors are operating simultaneously in an interlinked and mutually influencing process of transformation. And further, these internal factors from the displacement process are also influenced by and respond to external sources of power, as well as the initiatives of local actors. Therefore, the resettlement process emerges out of the complex interaction of all these factors in ways that are not predictable and that do not seem amenable to a rational planning approach (de Wet, 2006, p. 190).
De Wet suggests that a more comprehensive and open-ended approach than the predominantly economic and operational perspective of the inadequate inputs approach is necessary to understand, adapt to, and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the inherent complexity of the displacement and resettlement process. While some might see this perspective as unduly pessimistic, the fact that authorities are limited in the degree of control they can exercise over a project creates a space for resettlers to take greater control over the process. The challenge thus becomes the development of policy that supports a genuine participatory and open-ended approach to resettlement planning and decision-making (de Wet, 2006).
Another major ethical concern, one largely unaddressed by the various sets of guidelines, is displacement by agencies and actions that are not associated with specific projects. Development activities involve many forms and actions beyond specific projects. Government and multilateral bank policies, private sector initiatives, technological innovation, and other agents or forces can result in what has been called "indirect displacement." This form of displacement occurs when the results of policies or actions render it irrational or intolerable for people to continue to live in a home environment (Drydyk & Elliot, 2001, p. 10). Such indirect displacement is often the outcome of market consequences as well, for example, the closing of factories in industrial towns in the United States (Bensman & Lynch, 1987). Closing a factory in one of these towns creates a major crisis, resulting in significant losses, economic hardship, social and psychological stress, and displacement and migration, yet such difficulties are always justified in terms of the workings of the market (for labor, raw materials, transportation, etc.) and the responsibility to company stockholders. The market mechanism is, in some sense, ideologically constructed to contain its own morality, always seen to be operating for the "larger" good but outside the normative constraints that pertain to noneconomic processes. Thus, if people and communities are displaced spatially or structurally by the workings of the market, is there an ethical failure, or is the market ideologically exempt from this judgment? Drydyk and Elliot reason that if project-specific displacement is to be minimized on ethical grounds, it is ethically inconsistent not to demand that indirect displacement, private sector displacement, and policy-induced displacement also be minimized (2001, p. 10). It is likely that advocates of national sovereignty, property rights, and free market efficiency would not be particularly receptive to limitations on agency in these domains because of indirect displacement, particularly in this age of ideology-driven globalization. However, if current models include within their outcomes direct and indirect displacement as part of the acceptable costs of economic development, such approaches can be seen as ethically compromised. Referring to the human capacity for social cognition, that is, the capacity to imagine the experience of the other, de Wet asserts that forced resettlement has been a massive failure of the imagination. "If the capacity to imagine the other and to make space for the other is at the heart of the capacity to be moral, then forced resettlement has also been a moral failure" (de Wet, 2009, p. 95)
Alternative constructions of the right to development stress smaller-scale undertakings that have less environmental impact, address local priorities, and respect local cultural autonomy and rights. Under these models, one's rights as a citizen include participation in the decision-making that impacts one's life and community. These views tend to emphasize the rights of the less powerful and the significance of cultural diversity over what they consider to be ecologically risky and economically questionable projects.
While the rhetoric that accompanies large-scale development projects frequently makes references to benefits for a general public, those who must suffer the costs that these projects entail tend to be quite specific communities. The costs that these communities are required to bear are often overwhelmingly heavy and at times virtually unmitigatable, given current levels of expertise and competence. It is the fundamental failure of the state and increasingly the private sector to undertake these projects in an ethical and competent fashion that produces conditions generating major forms of resistance.
At some fundamental level, DFDR resistance is a discourse about rights. DFDR pits the rights of the state and, increasingly, private capital to develop against the rights of specific peoples targeted for displacement and possibly resettlement. The rights of the state and private capital to displace and resettle have come under increasing scrutiny across a broad front of issues lately. The question of eminent domain has been subjected to serious scrutiny, particularly in the United States, as local and city governments have met resistance in their attempts to condemn homes and neighborhoods for public purposes only to sell them subsequently to private developers (Carpenter & Ross, 2007). The concept of "national purpose," so frequently invoked to justify the sacrifices of a few for the benefit of an unspecified many is being increasingly questioned as a vague and nebulous concept. The invocation of "compelling and overriding public interests" provides a loophole of enormous proportions and subject to equally enormous abuses, and many are beginning to ask: Who defines the public interest? Who is the public? How is their interest determined? The need to address these questions has created some strange bedfellows in the politics of DFDR. Libertarians espousing radical individualism and communitarians with more socially based values have occasionally found themselves on the same side of this particular fence.
Human rights groups have challenged the idea that national purpose can continue to be taken at face value. They question whether decisions arrived at through techno-managerial forms of cost-benefit analysis should set priorities rather than other standards of judgment such as distributive justice, the right to adequate livelihood, or the right to human dignity (Colchester, 1999, p. 13), particularly when national laws frequently determine, in ways both inadequate and inappropriate, compensation levels for land taken by eminent domain. Many indigenous groups consider themselves to be sovereign peoples whose prior rights over their territories exempt them from eminent domain or at least should provide veto power over development projects on their lands (Colchester, 1999, p. 13).
Since resistance to development-induced resettlement essentially challenges the state and its hegemony over the territory and people within its borders, it may have profound implications for policy at local, national, and international levels. In the sense that involuntary migration and resettlement are part of the means or outcomes of intentional, usually state-driven, development projects and strategies, the phenomenon of resettlement is, therefore, fundamentally a political one, a clash of contesting interests involving the use of power by one party to relocate another.
When people facing DFDR have raised objections, their voices have rarely reached beyond their local contexts—until very recently. People have clearly seen the disruptions and costs that development interventions have signified for their communities, but their objections, even when successful, have often been dismissed as the irrational conservatism of the peasant and the risk avoidance of the poor. Consultation with people to be relocated, prior to initiating planning and design phases of projects, has been perfunctory or nonexistent until very recently, and even then only in exceptional cases. Rarely were the local protests of people included against their will in development initiatives given much credence or respect. In many cases, their protests were denigrated as the ungrateful whining of the selfish who are unwilling to sacrifice for the benefit of the nation (Hilhorst, 2000). Their appeals for less destructive routes toward development essentially fell on deaf ears. Development projects were to benefit all, regardless of what was actually experienced by local people.
Thus, for much of the past 40 years most of the conversations about development, both pro and con, have essentially taken place among elites. However, the counterdiscourse that has emerged in that same period comes from a substantially broader and more diverse base. To some extent, both sides of the discussion share similar rhetorics of social justice and material well-being, but they differ markedly on the deeper philosophical meaning of development as a social goal and the means by which that goal should be achieved. The meanings, means, and implications of development within the discussion reflect the internal heterogeneity of both the development industry and those who propose alternative visions (W. F. Fisher, 1995, p. 8). Emphatically, however, the discussion about development is no longer a top-down monologue by elites, but rather an argument in which many voices from many sectors and many regions are speaking out in protest and resistance . In this era of global communications enabled, in fact, by an expansive technological development, these voices from soon-to-be uprooted villages and neighborhoods now can reach into the halls of power, acquiring allies and challenging proponents of macrodevelopment models that would erase their homes and livelihoods. Some have referred to this process as "globalization from below" (Brecher, Costello, & Smith, 1999).
As I noted earlier, the experience of development has meant for millions of people around the world a separation of local life from a sense of place. Recently, the discourses of triumphant globalization have hailed the emergence of global spaces and the increasing irrelevance of local places (Kearney, 1995). Interestingly, in the midst of the preeminence of the global, there is also an increasing incidence of social movements that maintain strong references to place and territory (Escobar, 2000, p. 141). The uprooted and the social movements and organizations that have taken up their cause under the various banners of human rights, environment, indigenous peoples, and other related issues are now in the forefront of what some have referred to as an emerging transnational civil society (e.g., Fox & Brown, 1998). Posited as an increasingly common feature of world politics, transnational civil society is composed mainly of NGOs and social movements from around the world that focus on a broad spectrum of issues such as trade, democratization, human rights, indigenous peoples, gender, security, and the environment, often in support of local populations and in opposition to the state and private capital (Khagram, 1999). Development projects have increasingly become the sites at which these interests and issues are contested and played out through different models of development and involving individuals and groups from a variety of communities, both local and nonlocal. In the face of efforts to displace them, the poor, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups are increasingly choosing to resist in the hope it will prove more effective in protecting their long-term interests than cooperation (W. F. Fisher, 1999).
The uprooted and the resettled have been joined by allies at national and international levels, from communities of activists from human rights, environmental, gender, and indigenous peoples organizations around the world. Indeed, corresponding to the wide array of activities undertaken in the name of development around the world, many of the issues raised by these organizations interweave with resistance to development forced displacement and resettlement and involve an extremely wide range of peoples, organizations, levels, contexts, and relationships that call for greater democratization and more participation of local populations in the decisions and projects affecting them. The argument advanced by these communities and their allies contends, in its most radical form, that large-scale development projects are basically designed to enhance the power of the state and private capital and are incapable of representing or serving the interests of the vast majority of the population.
Since population removal has long been a much-employed strategy of conquest, pacification, and territorial appropriation throughout history, resistance in some form also has an equally long history. Certainly, for as long as dislocation has been an outcome of both public policy and private expansion, there has also been significant resistance. However, the kinds of DFDR resistance that I am most concerned with emerge and assume forms that are uniquely a part of the ideological, organizational, and political climates and discourses of the late twentieth century. Twentieth-century DFDR is distinctive from similar processes in history for a number of reasons.
Certainly unique to the late twentieth century is that DFDR is articulated within the framework of development. That is, displacement and resettlement of specific populations are seen to be essential to the progress of a consciously and "scientifically" based development process. The distinction between development defined in terms of economic growth as opposed to development defined in terms of the expansion of social, economic, and political rights and power to broader sectors of the population has been mentioned. Development clearly involves a continuum of forms or expressions. There are publicly funded projects designed to provide goods and services to a general public. National and state parks and reserves are intended primarily to conserve publicly valued resources. Public funds are used to guarantee loans for private development of natural resources and environments. Wholly privately financed enterprises, such as mines or tourist resorts, are intended to reproduce capital. Moreover, the nature of a given development undertaking is inextricably entwined with the voluntary or involuntary nature of the displacement and migration.
A quick glance at the literature reveals that the vast majority of work in the field of DFDR has been focused on publicly funded, government-driven projects whose aim is to improve the economic and social conditions of variously defined groups of people. The resulting displacement from publicly funded projects is voluntary in some cases and involuntary in others. When the public sector requires land or other resources for public purposes, it is conventionally bound by law to compensate or otherwise provide for those whose land and other resources are being taken. The acceptance of compensation for losses does not necessarily warrant any conclusion about the voluntariness of resettlement. Recently, the greater involvement of private capital in large-scale development projects, sometimes alone and sometimes in joint ventures with the public sector, has been noted and indeed has become the aim of much public policy at both international and national levels.
The involvement of private capital shifts the goal of projects from improving social and economic conditions to enhancing the reproduction of capital in the form of profit, which is also considered to enhance the well-being of the society. Such enterprises are primarily intended to increase the accumulation of capital by private interests, but they constitute and are interpreted and assisted administratively and fiscally by governments as a form of economic development as well. The market and public administration have on occasion acted together to force the displacement of populations. As land occupied by low-income communities increases in value because of surrounding development, the tax rates increase as well. Individual owners may find themselves unable to pay the increased taxes and be forced to forfeit their land or sell to developers at reduced prices. The construction, for example, of large-scale tourist resorts, oil exploration and extraction sites , pipelines, or mines in rural areas often occasions the displacement and resettlement of numerous communities. Such enterprises usually rely on the market to establish land prices that are to serve as compensation for those displaced, although there are cases, such as that of the Rio Tinto Corporation, in which developers have undertaken resettlement projects for communities to be displaced by their mining operations (Rio Tinto, 2001). Where communities are displaced by contamination or other unacceptable conditions created by the enterprise, other forms of compensation may be provided, either voluntarily or through legal mandate.
Generally, people displaced by private development are considered to be voluntary migrants, having accepted a sum of money in exchange for their land. In the dominant ideology, market transactions are seen as being entered into voluntarily by free economic actors. But market transactions often have the effect of disguising the difference between voluntary migration and involuntary displacement. Many factors may influence a decision to accept payment or other forms of compensation for land, not the least of which—in both public and privately driven displacement—are various forms of coercion. Private enterprise projects, with or without government assistance or collusion, may, without legal sanction, withhold crucial information from rural dwellers, depriving them of making informed economic decisions regarding their land. And not infrequently, various forms of violence and other coercive measures are inflicted by private interests, often with the collusion or willful ignorance of governments, on individuals and communities that display reluctance to surrender their land and resources to these private undertakings. For example, a consortium made up of Unocal, Total of France, the Petroleum Authority of Thailand, and the Myanmar Oil and Gas Corporation has employed the military to forcibly relocate people who occupy land in order to completely control the region through which a pipeline will be constructed (Free Burma Coalition, n.d.). The fate of the displaced in these cases is often identical to the fate of those displaced by publicly funded projects with little or inadequate resettlement components. Such a fate is being increasingly resisted by local community organizations in various localities around the world (see Hacienda Looc case study, Chapter 5). Other government organized resettlement projects, although generally better funded than involuntary projects (Cernea, 1999; J. H. Eriksen, 1999), also reveal a variation of degree in regard to the voluntary nature of resettlement. In Bolivia, the U.S.-organized and -funded Zero Option project to combat coca production called for the voluntary resettlement of the peasant population of the Chapare region to other parts of the country, the complete eradication of all coca fields, and the closing of the region to any further colonization (Sanabria, 1993, p. 190). In response, the five tropical federations of Cochabamba organized a 1994 national march from Villa Tunari in the Chapare Valley to the center of La Paz to protest the project (Contreras, 1995, p. 22). Clearly, resistance movements call into question the voluntary nature of much of this "voluntary" displacement. Therefore, the nature of the development project will lead to a determination of the displacement process as either voluntary or involuntary. I would suggest that the forms of resistance that are undertaken by communities be employed as one measure by which the voluntary or involuntary nature of the displacement process is assessed (Oliver-Smith, 2005a, 2006).
The conceptual issue to be addressed here is how resistance is to be defined. The phenomenon of resistance has emerged as a major interest of social science and humanistic research over the past twenty years. As Ortner notes, resistance at one time was a fairly unambiguous concept, connoting an oppositional response to the exercise of domination, which itself was seen unproblematically as a fixed and institutionalized form of power (1995, p. 174). Foucaultian interpretations of less formalized, more pervasive and everyday forms of power and James Scott's work (1985, 1990) on equally "everyday forms of resistance" have complicated the delineation of what is or is not resistance.
Although an explicitly Foucaultian approach to resistance is not adopted here, his work unquestionably informs much of contemporary understanding of power and resistance. Probably the clearest exposition of Foucault's understanding of resistance, at least in his early work, comes from his discussion of power in The History of Sexuality. Foucault holds that power is something that pervades all social relations, not just those involving the state or law, which he terms "the terminal forms that power takes" (1990, p. 92). Power is "the moving substrate of force relations which, by virtue of their inequality, constantly engender states of power, but the latter are always local and unstable"(Foucault, 1990, p. 93). While he recognizes that the juridico-discursive form of power is real, he does not think that it encompasses the microlevel complex of power relations that make possible the centralized and repressive forms (Sawicki, 1991, p. 20).
For Foucault, "where there is power, there is resistance," and "this resistance is never in a position of exteriority to power" (1990, p. 93). Just as "power is exercised from innumerable points" (1990, p. 94), there is also a "plurality of resistances," some spontaneous and violent, some interested, compromising, or sacrificial (1990, p. 96), all reflecting the internal diversity of all social groups. Resistances are inscribed in relations of power as "an irreducible opposite." Points of resistance congeal irregularly at varying densities, producing cleavages in both individuals and societies, sometimes mobilizing, sometimes fracturing unities (1990, p. 96), a dimension of DFDR that will become apparent in subsequent discussions. Foucault's later work continues his focus on power and resistance, but also develops a concept of agency and the potential for social change in resistance (Hartmann, 2003; Sawicki, 1991, p. 100). That is, resistance is not just the irreducible opposite of power, but contains the potential for free subjects to "traverse a field of action in new and creative ways," thus generating and changing consciousness (Hartmann, 2003, p. 10; Fantasia, 1988).
By the same token, James Scott, who acknowledges an implicit dialogue with the work of Foucault (among others) on the normalization or naturalization of power (1990, p. xv), addresses the "arts of resistance" of subaltern peoples to a public transcript of institutionalized material appropriation, rituals of hierarchy, deference, speech, humiliation, punishment, and ideological justification for inequalities (1990, p. 111). In their opposition to the public transcript of domination, subaltern peoples develop a "hidden transcript" to negate and neutralize the material, social, and psychological effects of the public transcript. While Scott in no way diminishes the impact and meaning of the material appropriation, either at the individual or group level, his focus is on the continual humiliations that are suffered by individuals in dominated social groups and through which those appropriations are extracted. He wishes to focus on the personal experience of domination and the forms of resistance developed by the powerless.
The hidden transcript of negation and resistance is played out only in the safety to be found among one's peers, who suffer the same indignities. The hidden transcript provides the dominated with a frame in which a sense of order and justice can be reasserted, but it may not be articulated in larger public realms. If the forms of negation in the hidden transcript were expressed publicly, that is, in the presence of the dominant group, it would constitute an act of resistance, even rebellion (J. Scott, 1990, p. 115). Scott's concept of public and hidden transcripts helps illuminate the social and cultural dynamics of domination and resistance. The state or, increasingly, private capital, in its very conceptualization of projects that displace communities, expresses its power and its right to exercise that power over affected people. The public transcript of domination is manifest to all, but most especially to those who will be displaced. By the same token, the responses to the public transcript of domination emerge from a violated sense of order, justice, and meaning (Ortner, 1995, p. 180). However, projects that plan displacement often provide contexts for transcripts of negation and neutralization, long hidden in institutionalized patterns of domination, to emerge as forms of active resistance.
Such has been the popularity of resistance in the social sciences, history, literature, cultural studies, etc., that acts of resistance have been imputed to a very wide variety of cultural expressions. Authors far too numerous to mention here, construct typologies of, question the authenticity of, dispute the importance of intention in, and explore the social ambiguity and psychological ambivalence of resistance (Ortner, 1995, pp. 175-176). Resistance to DFDR, as will be shown, contains many of the ambiguities and generates ambivalences similar to those of the hidden transcripts. However, it also confronts Foucault's terminal forms of power in no uncertain terms, engaging concrete institutional forms such as the state and market, as well as actual communities and social movements. The social relations of resistance to DFDR revolve around specific, local community issues, although in their evolution they may come to engage with both individual interests and broader, more ideological agendas. DFDR, as will be shown, also involves a continuum of forms, ranging from passive foot-dragging, nonappearance at official sites and times, inability to understand instructions, and other "weapons of the weak" so ably described by Scott (1985) to more overt protest meetings and civil disobedience to outright rebellion and warfare. An important point to realize here is that between the poles of complete passivity (that is, no resistance at all) and active resistance, a variety of motivations, goals, and actions may be present. The lack of overt resistance does not indicate that displacement is at all voluntary. Where governments have a history of abuse and coercion, displacement may be accepted as the only survivable alternative, but it is hardly voluntary and is deeply resented in Scott's hidden transcript. By the same token, there are instances in which active resistance does not indicate a primary agenda of reluctance to relocate. In these instances, resistance becomes a tool of negotiation to increase the levels of compensation.
Research on DFDR Resistance
As diverse as the sites, actions, and people involved in DFDR resistance are, the vast majority of attention has been focused on resistance to publicly funded hydropower projects. The centrality of dams to DFDR research is based on three major factors. First, dams are frequently perceived as the clearest expression of the Western, technologically driven form of development. These "temples of modern India," as Jawaharlal Nehru once referred to them, embody the aggressive, activist spirit of modern society, subduing and harnessing natural forces for the "greater good." Second, large dams perpetrate like few other phenomena a radical alteration, if not the complete destruction, of environments and community sites. The closing of the flood gates of a large dam signals the creation of a large reservoir that deeply impacts or even destroys geological and hydrological regimes both upstream and downstream and disturbs botanical and biological communities in its immediate and extended regions. Human communities are left radically altered, their relationship to their environment disturbed, their livelihoods changed, their lands inundated, and their social fabric disrupted. Finally, dams are expensive. They require enormous investments of capital that usually must be obtained by diverting resources from other forms of consumption and by loans from multilateral, public, and private sources. Financing dams tends to place large burdens on national treasuries, increasing national debts and exacerbating long-term dependency relations. Thus, their modernist cultural centrality and their physical and economic dimensions and impacts have earned dams the vast majority of serious examinations of displacement and resettlement.
By the same token, these same characteristics have also generated significant resistance to dam construction, producing over time large social movements and the most formally constituted resistance organizations. In like measure, then, the most detailed descriptions and analyses of resistance movements have been similarly focused on those confronting dam construction and the resultant displacement and resettlement. Moreover, among dam resistance movements, one in particular, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) in India, has garnered more attention by far than any other around the world (see case study, Chapter 7). Numerous studies, books, dissertations, and articles, not to mention websites, email list managers, films, and videos, focus exclusively on the NBA and the Sardar Sarovar Project, dwarfing in comparison the discussion of resistance in the rest of the world. The discussion of DFDR resistance to dams and other development projects elsewhere is perhaps most concentrated on Latin America and, to some degree, Southeast Asia. While some documentation exists for Europe and Africa, the volume of materials on DFDR resistance in these sites does not compare with either India or Latin America, particularly Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Recent controversies over the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China have generated significant resistance movements both locally and internationally, producing protest movements, pamphlets, books, and websites that articulate opposition to what will be the world's largest dam.
The development impetus in large industrializing nations such as India, China, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina has led to particularly aggressive programs of dam construction that have, until confronted by concerted resistance movements, run roughshod over the human and environmental rights of affected communities. For example, it is estimated that fully 75 percent of all the people displaced by India's dam construction have not been resettled nor have they received any compensation for their losses (Cernea & McDowell, 2000). Resistance to large dam projects in these nations has tended to garner greater attention because of the scale of the projects, the size of the nations involved, and the democratic forms of governance of those societies, with the exception of China, that give greater opportunity for protest. Large dams have and are being constructed in many other nations, but the attention of both researchers and the media has been limited by such factors as accessibility, the lack of a democratic administration, and the relatively minor political importance on the world stage of the nations involved. In the case of China, whose development projects have displaced millions since 1948 and whose geopolitical importance is undisputed, the relatively small amount of research on resistance to DFDR, in comparison with, for example, India or Brazil, is a function both of the lack of opportunity for protest and the lack of accessibility and available information under the current regime.
Dams, in effect, have become one of the core issues in the debate over human rights and the environment in development. In some sense, dams and the anti-dam movement play an emblematic role for the entire resettlement problem, much as rain forests have for the environmental movement. It is around the issue of dams that a formidable set of multilevel alliances has become organized, capable of creating institutions, challenging governments, and reforming multilateral development institutions. The expansion and success of the global anti-dam movement have led many to consider it as a model or prototype for other forms of resistance. While resistance to other forms of DFDR may learn much from the anti-dam movement, the symbolic and physical centrality of dams to the development process may have made social mobilization against dam construction easier than mobilization around other issues. That notwithstanding, dams share with other forms of infrastructural development a number of core issues of human rights and the environment around which social mobilization can be undertaken for resistance.
Other forms of development-forced displacement, such as conservation, urban renewal, mining, public use complexes, transportation, and pipelines, have received generally less attention as causes of resettlement, although urban renewal in the developed world has been closely examined since the 1950s (e.g., Fried, 1963; Gans, 1962) and more recently, both mining (Rebbapragada & Kalluri, 2009; Minewatch, 2000; Breaking New Ground, 2002) and conservation-driven resettlement have received considerable attention (Brechin, Wilshusen, Fortwangler, & West, 2002; Oliver-Smith, 2009b; Schwartzman, Moreira, & Nepstad, 2000). Generally, resistance to non-dam forms of DFDR has been consequently less documented and analyzed. With the resistance against dams gaining greater support in many contexts, development resources are being allocated toward other forms of infrastructural projects that also displace people. Therefore, there is considerable need for more research not only on other forms of development-forced displacement, but on resistance to such displacement as well. In particular, much greater attention should be paid to privately funded development projects that force displacement and to the resistance movements that confront them (Oliver-Smith, 2001, 2005a). The significance of this form of research will only increase in the coming decades as privatization of previously publicly provided service increases. Indeed, privately funded development directed toward capital growth presents significantly different challenges to resisters, as will be subsequently discussed.
Notwithstanding the imbalance in the contextual spread of resistance research, several other areas of study provide important insights into the nature of DFDR resistance. Most significantly, the growing body of literature on environmental movements, NGOs, and social movements in general offers an array of conceptual tools with which to contextualize and analyze DFDR resistance movements within the broader framework of rights-based mobilization and democratization. As will be more completely discussed later, DFDR resistance movements frequently become participants in a broader front of organized opposition to development as it has impacted peoples and environments. The publications of these movements and organizations themselves, often in the form of newsletters, bulletins, manifestos, and internal reports, produced to both inform the public and broaden their base, are a rich source of information and analysis. Electronic technology has also facilitated the dissemination of information and analysis about DFDR resistance movements. Email list managers and websites maintained by resistance organizations and allies provide almost same-day coverage of activities and events in resistance campaigns around the world. I have drawn on all these resources, published and unpublished.
Recently, confidence in some web-based material has been questioned for its accuracy and analytical rigor. In cases where accuracy is a concern, attempts have been made to confirm points or issues from other sources as well. However, the question of the objectivity of much of the material associated with these struggles is in some ways irrelevant; it is not intended to be objective but to represent a distinctly political perspective and thus serves as primary data for this study. By the same token, a great deal of research by NGOs and independent scholars has convincingly refuted both data and conclusions arrived at by established authorities representing states and multilateral institutions, thus casting serious doubt on the "objectivity," not to mention the empirical and analytical rigor, of the work produced by such agencies. The World Bank's attempt to establish itself as the "Knowledge Bank" has been met with derision in some sectors. The World Bank is in the business of making loans for development projects and cannot be expected to produce impartial information, but it misrepresents itself as doing so.
In that context, then, I consider all information to be inherently partial and political in nature, as must be this book itself. In so far as the discourse of states, multilateral development banks (MDBs), and corporations regarding DFDR claim authority on the basis of their own self-validating power, one of my purposes in this book is to frame the views of local peoples so they can be seen as legitimate in broader contexts outside their communities. Indeed, this goal is also shared by a wide variety of NGOs, social movements, academics, and other allies, including those within state administrations and MDBs.
The Politics of DFDR Resistance Research
I want to close this chapter with a final question about field research and publication. One of the more difficult issues of social research involves the use of information that is gathered and compiled about the lives and activities of individuals and groups. This problem has a long history, but it has become a significant element in contemporary social and policy research, particularly since the early 1970s when a number of projects, such as the Thailand counterinsurgency research and the Camelot Project, pursued and revealed information about informant communities that proved highly damaging to them. Concerns about risk to informants were expressed by researchers exploring the politics of resistance among such groups as the American Indian Movement (AIM), particularly when potentially illegal acts of disruption were being considered as possible tactics in the struggle. Research among populations involved in various illegal economic activities—such as drug production, distribution, and consumption; smuggling; prostitution; or simple retailing without licenses in the informal economy—has the potential of endangering informant communities with legal sanctions or worse.
Such risks must also be recognized for research among resistance movements of various kinds, particularly DFDR resistance. Currently, pending and already approved antiterrorist legislation in many national deliberative bodies around the world is providing ever broader definitions of terrorism that indicate lower levels of governmental tolerance for dissent of many kinds. Amnesty International has appealed, for example, to India's parliament to discard its Prevention of Terrorism bill because they feel it would lead to rights abuses rather than protection (Subramanyam, 2001). Indeed, NGO activists assisting protesters against resettlement from tribal lands by mining interests in India were fearful that the government could use the threat of terrorism against them. "We were in a situation wherein it was easy for the government to use brutal violence and wipe us out and justify their actions by implicating us as Naxalites [an extremist group]" (Rebbapragada & Kalluri, 2009, p. 260) Similar concerns have been expressed about the so-called Patriot Act in the United States. DFDR resisters today run the risk, through the misapplication of antiterrorist laws, of being labeled terrorists and losing their democratic rights of protest against policies and projects that violate human and environmental rights. As Nussbaum noted in 2007, the political climate provided a pretext to the then-current U.S. administration to apply the word "terrorist" somewhat indiscriminately.
Disclosure of movement formation, leadership, and strategizing carries with it the potential of both compromising specific individuals and providing information useful in co-opting, preempting, or disarming DFDR resistance movements. Although most resistance movements are strategically public in their activities and transparent in their goals, in part to contrast with the often covert agendas of projects, which frequently are unwilling to disclose important information relating to planning and schedules, care must be taken in the analysis of DFDR resistance movements to avoid disclosures that could compromise individuals and organizations.
The avoidance of these kinds of disclosures is paramount. However within this constraint, DFDR resistance research can deepen our understanding of development by articulating the perspectives of people who are the objects, and often the victims, of that process. Information about DFDR resistance movements that reaches the general public, potential allies and other forms of support, and the policy-making and scientific communities can help to alter and amend the destructive features of the development process. DFDR resistance research displays and analyzes the important perspectives and critiques that are provided by resistance for a reworking of a development agenda that has deep and abiding problems. Resistance movements directly and through their allies bring into high relief the serious defects and shortcomings in goals, means, policy frameworks, legal options, assessment and evaluation methodologies, and implementation that plague much of the development effort. The most recent final report of the World Commission on Dams (2000) is only one positive outcome that DFDR resistance movements have contributed to through their mobilization. However, the question of how we can explain the emergence of movements and articulate their points of view without compromising them remains difficult and should be in the forefront of the research concerns.
An extremely wide array of participants, movements, forms, strategies, tactics, and goals has emerged in resistance to development-forced resettlement over the last four decades. My purpose in this book is to explore the rights, claims, and visions of the development process that the complex and multidimensional forms of resistance to DFDR express in their refusal to relocate, as well as how these rights, claims, and visions become part of a multilevel and multisectoral effort to critique and reconceptualize the development process. I have attempted to weave together a holistic view of the meaning and experience of DFDR resistance that identifies a number of conceptual, contextual, and exemplary strands that are repeatedly revisited throughout the book in greater and greater detail. The resulting fabric, I hope, provides a more holistic consideration of the problematic nature of the development process.