Belo Monte

A major part of my work the past few years has involved researching the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. It is located on the Xingu River, and is slated to be the world’s third-biggest dam when it is completed (likely around 2018).

In my 2014 article in the Journal of Latin American Studies, I use a case study of Belo Monte as a lens through which to understand Brazil’s changing environmental norms. In my 2015 piece in International Environmental Agreements: Law, Policy, Economics, activism surrounding the dam project serves to illustrate Gramscian hegemony theories in relation to the green economy. I’ve talked about the project on Al Jazeera English TV, as well.

Belo Monte has a 30+ year history as a development project. I began learning about Belo Monte when in 2006 I was still in early stages of my doctoral field research.  Much to my bewilderment, I found myself in the middle of a pro-dam manifestation in the city of Altamira, where I lived.  While the government was in the midst of creating conservation areas like national parks and Extractive Reserves in the Xingu river basin, at the same time, longer-term plans were being made to construct the dam as part of a broader strategy for expanding energy output from Amazonian rivers in the name of the green economy and sustainable development.

Bratman, Eve. (2015). “Passive Revolution in the Green Economy: Activism and the Belo Monte Dam.” International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law, and Economics 15:1, 61-77.

Bratman, Eve. (2014). “Contradictions of Green Development: Human Rights and Environmental Norms in Light of Belo Monte Dam Activism.” Journal of Latin American Studies 46: 2 (May 2014), 261-289.

Human Rights and Environmental Advocacy in the Eastern Brazilian Amazon.” in Ed Lorenz, Dana Aspinall and Mike Raley, eds., Montesinos’ Legacy: The Universality of Human Rights (Lexington Books, November 2014).

Al Jazeera, Inside Story Americas (television). The Real Cost of Brazil’s Dam. February 1, 2012.

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