Lessons learned from a small native American community

Wendy N Espeland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The decision not to build Orme Dam was a great political victory for residents of the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation in central Arizona. This article examines the conditions that gave rise to what most considered an unlikely outcome, and the lessons it suggests for understanding the politics of large water projects. These lessons include the importance of understanding that rationality takes multiple forms; that how value is expressed can be as significant as what, and how much, something is valued; that identity politics which elaborates and celebrates cultural differences can be an effective means for challenging even powerful bureaucracies; and that law can be an important mediating structure in the politics of bureaucratic decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Administration and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Lessons learned from a small native American community'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this