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Border PoliticsSocial Movements, Collective Identities, and Globalization$
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Nancy A. Naples and Jennifer Bickham Mendez

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479898992

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898992.001.0001

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Frames, Boomerangs, and Global Assemblages

Frames, Boomerangs, and Global Assemblages

Border Distortions in the Global Resistance to Dam Building in Lesotho

(p.261) 10 Frames, Boomerangs, and Global Assemblages
Border Politics

Yvonne A. Braun

Michael C. Dreiling

NYU Press

This chapter explores the limits, tensions, and possibilities of cross-border organizing using the case of International Rivers and the local struggle of activists in Lesotho challenging a mega-dam water scheme, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). It privileges the perspective of one local NGO, the Highlands Church Action Group (HCAG), constituted by Basotho activists who see themselves as working on behalf of communities affected by the LHWP and not necessarily as global or antidam activists. It uncovers often-overlooked internal dynamics of the boomerang effect, a political strategy in which organizations form transnational advocacy networks to leverage pressure against targeted institutions to implement reforms or enforce laws or policies. As activists pursue this boomerang pattern, however, there is a risk of privileging the interpretations and identities of transnational allies, potentially leading to “border distortions”—rooted in failures to bridge social movement frames across structural chasms, from local to transnational advocacy networks—which can erode the resonance and strategic communication needed for the boomerang's full force to be effectively implemented.

Keywords:   cross-border organizing, International Rivers, activism, Lesotho Highlands Water Project, mega-dam projects, Highlands Church Action Group, Basotho activists, boomerang effect

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