Mohammad Hossain

Research themes
  • Development Politics
  • Politics & Democracy
  • Human Rights
Research countries
  • Bangladesh
Professional experience

1. Deputy Programme Manager- Research and Policy, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) 2. Research Associate, Academy for Educational Development (AED).


MA in Corruption and Governance, The University of Sussex, UK. 2016 MSS in Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2008 BSS in Anthropology, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2007


Development, governance

Funding institutions

German Academic Exchange Service - DAAD


Mobile: +8801713201808 (Bangladesh); +4915758716389 (Germany)

Thesis title

Contesting discourses of development: Coal-fired power plants installment in Bangladesh

Thesis abstract

Evidence suggests that 41% of the global electricity has been produced from coal which is also considered as responsible for the greenhouse gas emission that has a significant negative contribution to global warming. Nowadays many coal power dependent countries are stepping out of coal-fired power generation in response to the anti-coal movement at the grassroots level and also for the global pressure for the climate change commitments according to the Kyoto Protocol. However, from 2009, the government of Bangladesh planned to construct 23 coal-fired power plants based on imported coal. This initiative has been contested by the local people, the environmentalists and the civil society from a different point of view.

From the ‘developmentalist’ point of view, the government has been identified coal-fired power generation as the cheapest way to produce electricity in order to accelerate country’s economic growth, rapid urbanization, industrialization and overall development. It is also argued that the country does not have the financial, technical and human capacity to initiate renewable energy. From the ‘environmentalist’ point of view, instead, environmentalists and civil society argue that the balance of the ecosystem, human rights, social and environmental justice has to be compromised to generate electricity from coal. More importantly, environmentalists are arguing against a power plant that has been planned to build close to the Sundarbans mangrove forest which is a World Heritage site. However, both ‘developmentalist’ and ‘environmentalist’ perspectives have been failed to accommodate local people’s interest who had been evicted from their lands and from their traditional way of living. A vibrant protest emerged against some of these power plants by the environmentalists and local people. However, there are various heterogeneities in interest and mode of resistance within the protesters. Under such circumstances, actors such as the government, environmentalists, and the local people are found to be politically contesting each other through creating argumentative discourses. To resolve the protest, the government is giving technocratic solutions towards the environmentalist whereas it is found on very hardline towards the local people who had been killed, physically assaulted and fabricated cases had been filed against many of them. Existing political factions of the locality have been used along with the support of the law enforcing agencies to neutralize the protest of the local people.

The overall objective of this research is to investigate the political contestations and negotiations of different actors around the construction of Rampal and Banskhali coal-fired power plants. From a political ecology perspective, this research characterized how different actors are contesting from their different interest in the greater debate of ‘development.’ Actor-oriented interface approach as explained and elaborated by Norman Long has been used as a framework to collect and analyze data. Primary information has been collected from relevant actors those who are involved in this confrontation using qualitative research methods. Collected data has been triangulated to analyze by coding, summarizing, describing, categorizing and interpreting. A qualitative content analysis method has been adopted for data analysis. The results of the study have been presented in narrative manners.


Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Dr. Christoph Antweiler

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Irit Eguavoen


Transparency International Bangladesh.  2015.  Rampal and Matarbari Power Projects: Governance Challenges in Environmental Impact Assessment and Land Acquisition.  Transparency International Bangladesh, Dhaka. Further Information


Transparency International Bangladesh.  2014.  Governance of Cooperative Society Management – challenges and way out.  Transparency International Bangladesh, Dhaka. Further Information


Transparency International Bangladesh.  2013.  National Household Survey on Corruption.  Transparency International Bangladesh, Dhaka. Further Information
Transparency International Bangladesh.  2013.  Members of Parliament Study.  Transparency International Bangladesh, Dhaka. Further Information


2010.  Anthropological Perspectives of Ethnicity Study, In the Journal of Anthropology (bangla).  Nrivijnana Patrika, Vol 15. Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka . 
2010.  Women are the most Vulnerable Group in War or Violence (bangla).  Nari O Progati Journal, Vol. 10. 

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Mohammad Hossain

Junior Researcher

ZEF A: Department of Political and Cultural Change