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Reading: The Two Sides of Pascua Lama: Social Protest, Institutional Responses, and Feedback Loops

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The Two Sides of Pascua Lama: Social Protest, Institutional Responses, and Feedback Loops

Author:

Paul Alexander Haslam

University of Ottawa Canada, CA
About Paul

Paul Alexander Haslam <phaslam@uottawa.ca> is an associate professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa. His teaching and research interests span both international development and international political economy. Current research focuses on corporate social responsibility, social conflict between mining firms and nearby communities, and state-firm relations (in Argentina, Chile and Peru). Recent publications include “The Determinants of Social Conflict in the Latin American Mining Sector: New Evidence with Quantitative Data” World Development (2016); and “Beyond Voluntary: State-Firm Bargaining over Corporate Social Responsibilities in Mining” Review of International Political Economy (2018).

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Abstract

The article shows that the ability of activists to achieve outcomes that they value is fundamentally conditioned by how bureaucracies implement policies and regulations. Relatively minor changes to bureaucratic policies, regulatory enforcement, or judicial oversight – in a context of rule of law and institutional capacity to implement – can generate new opportunities and feedback loops that increase the influence of social movements over extractive sector governance, even when other political and legislative opportunities are closed. In this regard, despite the failure of glacier legislation in Chile, increased bureaucratic and judicial responsiveness enhanced the ability of social activists to attain their goals via direct access to regulatory agencies. In Argentina, the fragmented federal system allowed the passage of legislation to conserve glaciers, yet prevented effective implementation of the law.

 

Resumen: Los dos lados de Pascua Lama: protesta social, respuesta institucional y circuitos de retroalimentación

El artículo muestra que la capacidad de los activistas de alcanzar resultados que valoran está fundamentalmente condicionado por la manera en la que la burocracia aplica las políticas y las regulaciones. Cambios relativamente menores de políticas burocráticas, aplicación regulatoria, o la supervisión judicial, en un contexto de estado de derecho y capacidad institucional, puede generar nuevas oportunidades y circuitos de retroalimentación que aumentan la influencia de los movimientos sociales sobre la gobernanza del sector extractivo, incluso cuando se encuentran cerradas otras oportunidades políticas y legislativas. En este sentido, a pesar del fracaso de la legislación sobre glaciares en Chile, el aumento de la capacidad de respuesta burocrática y judicial mejoró la capacidad de los activistas socio-ambientales sociales para alcanzar sus objetivos a través del acceso directo a las agencias reguladoras. En Argentina, el sistema federal fragmentado permitió la aprobación de leyes para conservar los glaciares, pero impidió la implementación efectiva de la ley.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10398
How to Cite: Haslam, P. A. (2018). The Two Sides of Pascua Lama: Social Protest, Institutional Responses, and Feedback Loops. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, (106), 157–182. DOI: http://doi.org/10.32992/erlacs.10398
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Published on 18 Dec 2018.
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