Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Michael Menser

Subject Categories

Asian Studies | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Environmental Studies | Food Studies | Geography | Human Ecology | International Relations | Place and Environment | Political Theory


Mekong River, Dams, Rivers, Hydroelectric, Eros, ASEAN


This paper will examine the planned development on the Mekong by looking at the historical, political, and economic reasons why largescale hydroelectric dams are now being pushed upon the river. It will then critique the international state sovereignty system focusing directly on the Mekong River Commission and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) for their inabilities to mitigate environmental impact while pursuing development. I analyze how the “global city” discourse cannot rationally be applied to Southeast Asia and how the urban-rural divide in Southeast Asia creates only greater problems as dam production on the Mekong accelerates. I propose an alternative vision for the future on the Mekong that recalibrates development into an ecologically sustainable and attainable form by using historical context from James C. Scott in conversation with the theoretical visions championed by Maria Mies on subsistence and the conception of Buen Vivir. I will then use the theories on social change from George Katsiaficas and Felix Guattari with examples of resistance in the region to showcase how this can be attained.