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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Administration