• Tenzin Jamyang Norbu Losang
  • Jeppe Nielsen-Hannerup
4. semester, Teknoantropologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The Nepali government has identified that hydropower (HP) should secure its rightful place as a driving force of the national economy. In the process of expanding the Nepali HP sector, a legislative framework has been put in place to reduce environmental impacts through, among other things, public engagement. This framework demands an HP company to conduct environmental assessments studies of an HP project and enclose them in a report. Such a report is known as either an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) or an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Although, this framework is in place several studies argue that the ecosystem along with citizens in HP areas suffer from HP development (Munch-Petersen, 2017; Lord, 2014; Sovacool et al., 2011).
This thesis takes a point of departure in IEE and EIA reports and the guidelines framing them in order to unfold the dynamics of the HP landscape in Nepal from a socio-technical perspective. The objective is to produce a set of recommendations in order to augment current assessment guidelines. Actor-network theory constitutes the framework of the thesis. We draw on concepts such as matters of concern (Latour, 2005a) and translation processes (Callon, 1986) as this constitutes a rich perspective for understanding power structures of an actor-network. A deconstruction of such power structures has opened up black boxed knowledge surrounding HP and unveiled how the interests of some actors have been displaced or even neglected. Ethnographic and digital methods have been applied to acquire both quantitative and qualitative data, which has been used to present a qualitative analysis of HP networks. Concretely, these methods include participant observation and semi-structured interviews which have been applied in two case studies. Furthermore, it includes digitally harvested data of website hyperlinks and article citation networks.
The overall findings suggest that there is a disconnect between what is stated in the impact assessment reports and that which is experienced by those local to HP projects. A legislative framing, in the form of guidelines for IEE and EIA reports, is insufficient when government authorities choose to ignore legislation set by themselves. Such lack of accountability is most blatantly seen in an almost total lack of HP monitorisation. We advocate for a move beyond legislation by recommending a mobilisation of actors, who possess both motivation and agency to advocate for sustainable change. In this context, sustainability should be understood as access for all concerned actors to engage in the HP network and to voice their concerns.

Keywords: actor-network theory; matters of concern; translation process; public engagement; digital methods; environmental impact assessment; hydropower
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2018
Antal sider95
ID: 280257547