BLAMING THE WEATHER, BLAMING THE PEOPLE: SOCIO-ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND A CRISIS ATTITUDE IN THE BRAZILIAN ELECTRICITY SECTOR1 1 The author would like to thank: Fapesp for the financial support to the project "Social and Environmental Processes that follow the construction of the Belo Monte Dam" (Fapesp 2015/02883-2), her project colleagues and the Ambiente & Sociedade reviewer for the valuable comments to earlier versions of this article.

VANESSA BOANADA FUCHS About the author

Abstract

The governance of natural resources is intrinsically linked with the governance of people. However, in practice, social aspects are often viewed as secondary to more technical and pressing issues in the implementation of projects such as dams. The use of water for electricity production in Brazil is a cas d'excellence that exemplifies how the bypassing of socio-environmental safeguards and democratic participation of affected people leads to conflicts. These conflicts delay infrastructure works, such as the Belo Monte Dam, that are found to be crucial for the equilibrium of electricity supply. Recently, social manifestation have become the scapegoat for the sector's crisis. This article discussed the "electricity crisis" from a historical policy analysis perspective. It concludes that the present disregard for social and environmental procedures is a self-inflicted disease that only contributes to the longer-term state of conflicts in the expansion of the electricity sector in Brazil.

Keywords
Electricity sector; dams; crisis; democratic governance of water

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