Rupture: Nature-society transformation in mainland Southeast Asia

Photo: Keith Barney

Research summary

Resource, industrial and infrastructure investments have driven mainland Southeast Asia’s growth since the 1990s, but these have catalysed dramatic social and environmental change. The impacts of specific projects and activities are typically well documented, but we are yet to grasp the wider implications of change processes that are accelerating, interacting and accumulating: are we seeing a fundamental “rupture” of social and environmental systems in this region? Through case studies of hydroelectric dams in mainland Southeast Asia, this research examines the interactive disruptions associated with these projects and how civil society and states are responding. Its findings will inform more inclusive and effective social and environmental policy.


Wolfram Dressler (University of Melbourne), Christian Lund (University of Copenhagen), Jonathan Rigg (National University of Singapore), Benedict Kerkvliet (ANU) and Nancy Peluso (University of California Berkeley).

In Cambodia: Chann Sopheak, Keo Piseth, Tim Frewer, Faculty of Development Studies (Royal University of Phnom Penh)

In Vietnam: VNU University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Hanoi


Project website: Researching Rupture: Understanding socio-ecological transformations in Southeast Asia. Blog Post, Tuesday 10 July 2018.

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