Transnational Capitalism and Hydropolitics in Argentina: The Yacyretá High Dam

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University Press of Florida, 1994 - Business & Economics - 185 pages
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From the foreword:
"Certain milestones mark the growth and maturation of a system of knowledge.  [This] study constitutes such a turning point."

"A powerful critique of mainstream understandings of 'development.'"--Richard Tardanico, Florida International University

What does a multi-billion-dollar dam mean to the majority of local people living in precarious social and economic conditions?  In this study of a large-scale international infrastructure project, Ribeiro found one answer: the prevailing model of development must change.

 He demonstrates why and how development, in the context of the Yacyretá High Dam in Argentina, has not been able to bring about well-being on a sustainable basis for most people affected by the project.  He maintains that development, which he calls "economic expansion," is played on a field of political and economic struggle where the players who start the action keep the advantage.  He links development projects more closely to the needs of national and international elites than to the local populations, and he coins the term "consortiation" to describe the interaction among capitalist agencies involved in the projects.

 This is the first anthropological work to study a large-scale infrastructure project from within.  While Ribeiro analyzes the different power groups who competed for access to and control of the high dam, he also shows how the dam modified the social and physical landscape and examines the rise of a new kind of nomadic laborer with a distinct identity, the "bicho de obra"--work site animal.  Social scientists, regional planners, engineers, diplomats, and environmentalists will find this book useful.
 

Gustavo Lins Ribeiro is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Brasilia.

  

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Contents

Introduction
1
an Anthropologist Anthropology and LargeScale Projects
7
Doing Research on the Yacyreta Hydroelectric High Dam
16
The South Cone and Yacyretas location
18
The Yacyreta Hydroelectric High Dam
23
The projects territory
27
Variations in estimates of total costs
28
The Institutional Triangle
29
Ituzaingo Villa Permanente 1000 Viviendas and G2
91
The Villa Permanente
104
The El Pinar Camp
112
The Labor Market Segmentation of the Yacyreta Project
119
Growth of contractors labor force
121
Origin of Argentine labor force
126
Country of origin of principal expatriate groups
130
The LargeScale Project Migratory Circuit and the Creation of the Bicho
132

The Meanings of Binationality
41
Articulating Power Groups
50
Articulating Different PoliticalEconomic Groups
80
YacyretasTerritorial Segmentation
86
The Different Rotational
147
Do Development Projects Promote Development?
156
References
169
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