Hydropower Development, Collective Action, and Environmental Justice in the Brazilian Amazon

Heather Randell, Peter Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Brazilian Amazon has long served as a site of infrastructure development and natural resource extraction. Development projects including dams and mines have largely benefited distant urban actors at a cost to local communities and the environment. We draw from theories of internal colonialism and environmental justice to examine the ways that dam building undermined the well-being of communities affected by construction of the Belo Monte Dam, and to understand how those communities engaged in collective action to minimize negative impacts on their livelihoods. Drawing from semi-structured interview and ethnographic data, we find that farmers and fishers impacted by Belo Monte used a variety of tactics to resist exploitation and ultimately receive more equitable compensation for their losses. We propose two processes that were central to their success in mobilizing for environmental justice: transformative resistance and collaborative claims-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1232-1249
Number of pages18
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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