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Policy Effects of Resistance against Mega-Projects in Latin America: An Introduction

Authors:

Eduardo Silva ,

Tulane University USA, US
About Eduardo

Eduardo Silva <gesilva@tulane.edu> is Professor and Friezo Family Foundation Chair in Political Science, Tulane University. His most recent publications include, Challenging Neoliberalism in Latin America (Cambridge University Press), Reshaping the Political Arena, from Resisting Neoliberalism to the Second Wave of Incorporation (co-editor) (University of Pittsburgh Press), and Transnational Activism and National Movements: Bridging the Divide (editor) (Routledge). Recent articles on social movements, extractivism, and popular sector incorporation have appeared in Politics and Society, Extractive Industries and Society, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Latin American Politics and Society.

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Maria Akchurin,

Tulane University USA, US
About Maria

Maria Akchurin <mmakchurin@tulane.edu> is a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research at Tulane University. She studies the politics of water; social mobilization around socioenvironmental conflicts; and the impact of social movements on policy change. Her articles include “Constructing the Rights of Nature: Constitutional Reform, Mobilization, and Environmental Protection in Ecuador” in Law & Social Inquiry (2015) and “Pathways to Empowerment: Repertoires of Women’s Activism and Gender Earnings Equality,” with Cheol-Sung Lee, in the American Sociological Review (2013).

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Anthony J. Bebbington

University of Melbourne, Australia; Clark University, United States, US
About Anthony

Anthony Bebbington <bebbington.a@unimelb.edu.au> is Australia Laureate Fellow in the School of Geography, University of Melbourne, and Higgins Professor of Environment and Society at Clark University. He is Professorial Fellow in the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, Research Associate of Rimisp-Latin American Centre for Rural Development, a Director of Oxfam America, and a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Books include Governing Extractive Industries: Politics, Histories, Ideas (OUP, 2018, with A-G. Abdulai, D. Humphreys Bebbington, M.Hinfelaar and C.Sanborn), Subterranean Struggles: New Dynamics of Mining, Oil and Gas in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2013, ed. with J. Bury), and Social Conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industries: Evidence from Latin America (Routledge, 2012, ed.).


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Abstract

In this introductory article, we present the special issue and outline our research agenda on extractive development, social mobilization, and policy impact in Latin America. We propose a shift in analytical focus from the study of resistance to studying the policy and institutional impacts of mobilization. We outline possible outcomes of interest and conditions contributing to the attainment of policy and institutional change. These conditions include movement characteristics – such as coalitions, repertoires, and alliances with state actors – and the socioeconomic, political, and ideational conditions that shape and constrain patterns of mobilization and the likelihood and durability of its impact. We also sketch the core themes and findings of the articles comprising the special issue, which cover sectors including mining, hydroelectricity, oil extraction, and accompanying infrastructural expansion across Central and South America. Several of the articles show how mobilization led to policy change while others caution against being overly optimistic about policy change without durable shifts in the structures that keep development models that prioritize the large-scale extraction of natural resources in place. We conclude by identifying pending questions and avenues for future research.

Resumen: Efectos políticos de resistencia al desarrollo extractivo en Latinoamérica

 Esta introducción al número especial delinea nuestra agenda de investigación sobre el desarrollo extractivo, movilización social, y su impacto en políticas nacionales en América Latina. Proponemos un cambio en el enfoque analítico pasando del estudio de la resistencia a sus impactos en políticas e instituciones. Esbozamos posibles resultados e identificamos condiciones que contribuyen al cambio político e institucional. Estas incluyen (1) características de los movimientos, como coaliciones, repertorios de acción contenciosa, y alianzas con actores estatales, y (2) condiciones socioeconómicas, políticas e ideológicas que forman y limitan tanto los patrones de movilización como la probabilidad y duración de sus impactos. De ahí pasamos a esbozar los temas centrales y hallazgos de los artículos que comprenden este número especial. Estos cubren sectores como la minería, la hidroelectricidad, la extracción de petróleo y la correspondiente expansión de infraestructura en América Central y del Sur. Varios de los artículos muestran cómo la movilización derivó en un cambio de política, mientras que otros trabajos cautelan contra excesivo optimismo sobre la durabilidad de cambios en ausencia de transformaciones en las estructuras que mantienen modelos de desarrollo que priorizan la extracción a gran escala de recursos naturales. Concluimos con una reflexión sobre preguntas pendientes y pistas para nuevas investigaciones.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10397
How to Cite: Silva, E., Akchurin, M., & Bebbington, A. J. (2018). Policy Effects of Resistance against Mega-Projects in Latin America: An Introduction. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (106), 23–46. DOI: http://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10397
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Published on 18 Dec 2018.
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