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Space, Place and Primitive Accumulation in Narmada Valley and Beyond

A hitherto unnoticed aspect of dam displacement is the way it contributes to processes of global primitive accumulation. Viewed from a wider perspective of neoliberal capitalist expansion, the creation of a global proletariat is facilitated by the dismantling of customary relations to land, forest and water. The fact that many dams throughout the world are located in territories in which existing populations hold legally tenuous relations to the environment may not be a coincidence. Further, existing laws and planning policies related to dam developments share a worldview that meshes utilitarian logic and legal belief in private property with an abstract concept of space and the environment.

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