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Title: Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams

Abstract

Scholars have been exploring the social impacts of dams for over 50 years, but a lack of systematic approaches has resulted in many research gaps remaining. This paper presents the first systematic review of the literature on the social impacts of dams. For this purpose, we built a sample of 217 articles published in the past 25 years via key word searches, expert consultations and bibliography reviews. All articles were assessed against an aggregate matrix framework on the social impact of dams, which combines 27 existing frameworks. We find that existing literature is highly biased with regard to: perspective (45% negative versus 5% positive); dam size (large dams are overrepresented); spatial focus (on the resettlement area); and temporal focus (5–10 years ex-post resettlement). Additionally, there is bias in terms of whose views are included, with those of dam developers rarely examined by scholars. These gaps need to be addressed in future research to advance our knowledge on the social impact of dams to support more transparency in the trade-offs being made in dam development decisions. - Highlights: • Very first systematic review of the research on dams' social impact • Biases in the literature identified, e. g. large dams over-studied,more » too much focus solely on resettlement area impacts • Implications of these biases for understanding of the topic are discussed.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22589260
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 60; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2016 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; DAMS; HYDROELECTRIC POWER; SOCIAL IMPACT

Citation Formats

Kirchherr, Julian, E-mail: julian.kirchherr@sant.ox.ac.uk, Pohlner, Huw, E-mail: huw.pohlner@oxfordalumni.org, and Charles, Katrina J., E-mail: katrina.charles@ouce.ox.ac.uk. Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1016/J.EIAR.2016.02.007.
Kirchherr, Julian, E-mail: julian.kirchherr@sant.ox.ac.uk, Pohlner, Huw, E-mail: huw.pohlner@oxfordalumni.org, & Charles, Katrina J., E-mail: katrina.charles@ouce.ox.ac.uk. Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams. United States. doi:10.1016/J.EIAR.2016.02.007.
Kirchherr, Julian, E-mail: julian.kirchherr@sant.ox.ac.uk, Pohlner, Huw, E-mail: huw.pohlner@oxfordalumni.org, and Charles, Katrina J., E-mail: katrina.charles@ouce.ox.ac.uk. Thu . "Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams". United States. doi:10.1016/J.EIAR.2016.02.007.
@article{osti_22589260,
title = {Cleaning up the big muddy: A meta-synthesis of the research on the social impact of dams},
author = {Kirchherr, Julian, E-mail: julian.kirchherr@sant.ox.ac.uk and Pohlner, Huw, E-mail: huw.pohlner@oxfordalumni.org and Charles, Katrina J., E-mail: katrina.charles@ouce.ox.ac.uk},
abstractNote = {Scholars have been exploring the social impacts of dams for over 50 years, but a lack of systematic approaches has resulted in many research gaps remaining. This paper presents the first systematic review of the literature on the social impacts of dams. For this purpose, we built a sample of 217 articles published in the past 25 years via key word searches, expert consultations and bibliography reviews. All articles were assessed against an aggregate matrix framework on the social impact of dams, which combines 27 existing frameworks. We find that existing literature is highly biased with regard to: perspective (45% negative versus 5% positive); dam size (large dams are overrepresented); spatial focus (on the resettlement area); and temporal focus (5–10 years ex-post resettlement). Additionally, there is bias in terms of whose views are included, with those of dam developers rarely examined by scholars. These gaps need to be addressed in future research to advance our knowledge on the social impact of dams to support more transparency in the trade-offs being made in dam development decisions. - Highlights: • Very first systematic review of the research on dams' social impact • Biases in the literature identified, e. g. large dams over-studied, too much focus solely on resettlement area impacts • Implications of these biases for understanding of the topic are discussed.},
doi = {10.1016/J.EIAR.2016.02.007},
journal = {Environmental Impact Assessment Review},
number = ,
volume = 60,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Thu Sep 15 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}