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In so doing, I focus on the ideas of movement , passion and fever , looking to demonstrate how such categories relate these processes to other experiences and domains. In pursuing this aim, I also look to establish a counterpoint to the ways through which issues such as the social effects of large development projects or the modernization of "traditional" areas have usually been described in the social sciences. Keywords: popular economies; development; movements; economic fever; dams; gold mining.
I asked myself sometimes what it all meant. They wandered here and there with their absurd long staves in their hands, like a lot of faithless pilgrims bewitched inside a rotten fence. The word "ivory" rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. Such comments would typically lead to digressions about the events there over the last two decades, after the construction of three large hydroelectric dams made it impossible to extract any more gold from the mines garimpos located along the river courses.
Deserted streets, closed houses, rundown and derelict buildings: no shortage of evidence existed that the town in question had indeed seen busier mais movimentados and more agitated days in the past - during both the mining era and the time when the hydroelectric dams were under construction. Most of the people I met there had once worked in mining or related activities. In the meantime, jobless and at a standstill , they lived off minimum income programs 2 and retirement pensions, occasional odd-jobs or the food baskets distributed by a social movement formed in the region to defend the rights of those affected by the dams.
By presenting their situation to me in this way, local people never ceased to challenge some of my preconceptions concerning the difficulties experienced by those "people affected by dams" in general.
After all, since the mids innumerable studies across a wide range of disciplines have devoted themselves to analyzing the social impacts of hydroelectric dams in Brazil. In the vast majority of these studies, and likewise in the campaigns fought by those affected by the dams, the drama experienced by the latter population is presented mainly in terms of "compulsory relocation": the forced migration of populations living in the areas where these projects have been implemented.