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Timescapes of Himalayan hydropower: Promises, project life cycles, and precarities

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Abstract In this paper, we review the existing social science scholarship focused on hydropower development in the Himalayan region, using an interpretive lens attuned to issues of time and temporality. While the spatial politics of Himalayan hydropower are well examined in the literature, an explicit examination of temporal politics is lacking. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework organized around the heuristic of timescapes, highlighting temporal themes implicit in the existing literature. In three sections, we explore the temporal politics of anticipation that shape hydropower dreams, the intersecting temporalities and rhythms that modulate the life cycles of hydropower projects, and the ways that geological and hydrological time affect both hydropower development and broader Himalayan futures. Along the way, we pose a series of questions useful for framing future research given the significant climatic, geophysical, and sociopolitical changes underway in the Himalayan bioregion, calling for greater analytical attention to time, temporality, and temporal ethics in future studies of hydropower in the Himalayas and beyond. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Planning Water Human Water > Water Governance Human Water > Water as Imagined and Represented Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change

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Science of Water > Water and Environmental Change
Human Water > Water as Imagined and Represented
Human Water > Water Governance
Engineering Water > Planning Water

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