Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Marcos Mendoza

Relational Format



The central question of this research thesis is: How have public-private partnerships to develop hydropower been shaped by competing forces in corporate, state, and civil society and how have these forces impacted the HidroAysén and the Represas Patagonias projects in Chile and Argentina, respectively? This thesis focuses on the competing discourses of the corporate, state, and civil society, along with their relative strengths, weaknesses, degrees of risk taking and risk sharing, and the level of public and private investment. As of December 2017, the HidroAysén project in Chilean Patagonia has been indefinitely halted, but on the other side of the border the Represas Patagonia project in Argentine Patagonia was recently approved. In this tale of two hydroelectric dams in the Southern Cone region of South America, I argue that there are two primary factors which have impacted and determined the outcomes of each project: 1) the configuration of the public-private partnership that is involved in each project and 2) the strength and scale of civil society and opposition movements. The private-public balance of corporate and state investment confronted by a well developed and transnational opposition movement created a set of factors which stymied the progress of the HidroAysén project; whereas, the public-private balance of corporate and state investment faced by a relatively weak and a predominantly regional and national opposition movement resulted in the approval of the Represas Patagonia project.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.