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Development & Dispossession

The Crisis of Forced Displacement and Resettlement

Edited by Anthony Oliver-Smith

Development & Dispossession2009. 344 pp., 5 illustrations, references, index, 6 x 92009. 344 pp., 5 illustrations, references, index, 6 x 9

More people were involuntarily displaced in the twentieth century than ever before, and not only by war and natural disasters. Capital-intensive, high-technology, large-scale projects compel the displacement and resettlement of an estimated 15 million people every year in the process of converting farmlands, fishing grounds, forests, and homes into reservoirs, irrigation systems, mines, plantations, colonization projects, highways, urban renewal zones, industrial complexes, and tourist resorts. Aimed at generating economic growth and strengthening the region or nation, these projects have all too often left local people permanently displaced, disempowered, and destitute. Resettlement has been so poorly planned, financed, implemented, and administered that these projects end up being “development disasters.” Because there can be no return to land submerged under a dam-created lake or to a neighborhood buried under a stadium or throughway, the solutions devised to meet the needs of people displaced by development must be durable. The contributors to this volume analyze the failures of existing resettlement policies and propose just such durable solutions.

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Contributors: Gregory V. Button, Michael M. Cernea, Dana Clark, Chris de Wet, Theodore E. Downing, William F. Fisher, Carmen Garcia-Downing, Barbara Rose Johnston, Satish Kedia, Dolores Koenig, Anthony Oliver-Smith, Thayer Scudder

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Download an excerpt (PDF, 56 KB).

Read Reviews

  • “This is a fantastic book, well researched and written, covering a broad range of topics....Each of the authors constructively points to steps to be taken, and even steps that have been taken, to make development-induced resettlement more sustainable and successful.”
    Laura Hammond, School of Oriental and African Studies
  • “[A]n outstanding collection…[that] will meet a real need among scholars and practitioners in the fields of development studies, anthropology, and planning….”
    Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • “These contributions...demonstrate the diversity of approaches in research around displacement and resettlement arising from development projects....This rich cross-section of anthropological contributions is closely informed by decades of interaction between anthropological researchers with policy makers, planners and civil society.”
    Dept. of Anthropology, The Australian National University, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, vol. 10, no. 4, December 2009

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