This article argues that people involuntarily displaced by development projects face the risk of adverse incorporation into local processes of development, and that resettlement programmes should aim at mitigating this risk. The article also contends that investigating the risk of adverse incorporation enables the identification of context-specific factors and processes that are likely to affect the outcomes of resettlement. The argument is applied to the case of the Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh, India, which will displace 200,000 people. It demonstrates that the affected people face the risk of being exposed to landlessness, fragmentation of landholdings, and casualisation of labour as a result of resettlement.
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