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Open AccessArticle

Navigating Contested Winds: Development Visions and Anti-Politics of Wind Energy in Northern Kenya

Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Mittelstrasse 43, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 20 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
State-led development visions and the accompanying large-scale investments at the geographical margins of Kenya rest on the potential of public–private partnerships to fast-tract sustainable development through accelerated investments. Yet, the conceptualisation, planning and implementation of these visions often deploy a depoliticising development discourse that reinforces and expands long-standing misconceptions about the margins primarily directed at pastoral livelihoods and related communal land tenure. This paper illustrates how the implementation of a wind energy project employs the corporate strategies of depoliticising both land claims and development interventions. In Northern Kenya, private sector participation in large-scale wind energy infrastructure has created a complex development apparatus in which players are empowered to undertake the accelerated investments required to shape the delivery of the Kenya Vision 2030 in the region. An analysis of corporate actors’ strategies in the implementation of the contested wind farm presents a depoliticised framing of “low-cost green energy”, representations of pastoral land tenure and corporate social responsibility strategies through which dispossession is justified and legitimised. This case underscores the extent to which corporate counterresistance is shaped by the reproduction of a historical depoliticised discourse about pastoralism and communal tenure and challenges the traditional narrative of government hegemony against local resistance to large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). View Full-Text
Keywords: large-scale land acquisitions; common pool resources; green energy; corporate social responsibility large-scale land acquisitions; common pool resources; green energy; corporate social responsibility
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Achiba, G.A. Navigating Contested Winds: Development Visions and Anti-Politics of Wind Energy in Northern Kenya. Land 2019, 8, 7.

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