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Sovereignties in Conflict: Socio-Environmental Mobilization and the Glaciers Law in Argentina


Lucas Christel ,

Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, AR
About Lucas

Lucas Gabriel Christel <> is a postoctoral fellow at the School of Politics and Government, National University of San Martín, where he also works as a political science instructor. His research focusses on the political incidence of social resistances, environmental conflicts, and sub-national politics in Argentina. In 2017 he published (with R.A. Gutiérrez) “Making rights come alive: Environmental rights and modes of participation in Argentina”, Journal of Environment & Development 26(3): 322-347.

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Daniel Torunczyk

Universidad Nacional de La Plata-CONICET, AR
About Daniel
Daniel Roy Torunczyk Schein <> is a post-doctoral research fellow at Argentina’s National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). His research focusses on the relations between society, nature, and politics through the study of socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America. He is currently working on a book manuscript that analyses socio-environmental conflicts and transnational mining development in Argentina through the concept of sovereignties in conflict. A recent publication is “The socio-political dynamics of transnational mining in Argentina: The cases of Puerto San Julián and Esquel in Patagonia”, The Extractive Industries and
Society, 2016.
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Until 2010, the cycle of socio-environmental mobilization in Argentina against transnational mining that began in 2003 had influenced legislative power only at subnational levels. The enactment of the Glaciers Law in 2010 constituted the first time that socio-environmental mobilization successfully influenced legislative power at the federal level. This article makes a double contribution to the analysis of this type of conflict. In theoretical terms, through the notion of “sovereignties in conflict”, it problematizes the question of sovereignty in relation to socio-environmental conflicts, a dimension currently absent in studies of this kind. In empirical terms, it carries out a study of the enactment of the Glaciers Law. The principal argument is that the greater influence of socio-environmental mobilization on federal legislative power was made possible by the higher degree of openness to various viewpoints at this level, in contrast to that observed at subnational levels, and by the more successful organization and articulation of socio-environmental mobilization in this broader context.
Resumen: Soberanías en conflicto: Movilización socioambiental y La Ley de Glaciares en Argentina

Hasta 2010, el ciclo de movilización socioambiental en la Argentina contra la minería trans-nacional que comenzó en 2003 había influenciado el poder legislativo a escala subnacional. Sin embargo, la sanción de la Ley de Glaciares en 2010 constituyó la primera vez que la movilización socioambiental logró condicionar el poder legislativo a escala federal. Este artículo realiza una doble contribución al análisis de este tipo de conflictos. En términos teóricos, a través de la noción de soberanías en conflicto, problematiza la cuestión de la soberanía en relación a los conflictos socioambientales, dimensión ausente hasta el presente en este tipo de estudios. En términos empíricos, realiza un estudio de la sanción de La Ley de Glaciares. El argumento principal sostiene que la influencia de la movilización socioambiental sobre el poder legislativo federal fue posible por el mayor grado de apertura que presenta con respecto a otros poderes legislativos subnacionales y el mayor grado de organización y articulación de la movilización socioambiental.

How to Cite: Christel, L., & Torunczyk, D. (2017). Sovereignties in Conflict: Socio-Environmental Mobilization and the Glaciers Law in Argentina. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (104), 47–68. DOI:
Published on 31 Oct 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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