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Governmentality, Development and the Violence of Natural Resource Extraction in Peru

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Governmentality, Development and
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Giorgos Kallis
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Governmentality, Development and the Violence of Natural Resource
Extraction in Peru
Diego Andreucci , Giorgos Kallis
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Edici Z, Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona, 08193, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
article info
Article history:
Received 28 July 2016
Received in revised form 23 December 2016
Accepted 3 January 2017
Available online 21 January 2017
1. Introduction
Since the late 1990s, resource-rich countries in the global South
experienced a boom in extractive activities and their exports of primary
commodities, associated with the deepening of an extractivistor
resource-baseddevelopment model (Bridge, 2008; Gudynas, 2013).
The intensication and rapid geographical expansion of extractive
activities has been a hotly contested process (e.g., Bebbington and
Bury, 2013). The aggressive expansion of extractive frontiers has had
profound socio-environmental impacts, and has met resistance from
affected indigenous and campesino communities and movements
(Conde, 2017). These local movements have occasionally succeeded in
scaling-up their struggles, causing political crises and changes of nation-
al relevance. In most cases, however, opposition to extractive activities
(or policies which encouraged them) has been met with violent repres-
sion from states (Bebbington and Humphreys Bebbington, 2011).
Within ecological economics, several researchers have explored
issues of environmental justiceand ecological distribution conicts
related to resource extraction (Martínez-Alier and Walter, 2015).
Ecological economists have stressed how rising global demand for raw
materials and fuelsconnected to growing global population and GDP
and the emergence of China as an hegemonic political actorhas both
increased the need for primary commodities and driven up their prices
(Muradian et al., 2012). Increased protabilitycoupled with the
progressive depletion of high quality, easily accessible primary
resourceshas driven extraction to materials previously regarded as in-
accessible or not cost-effective, thereby increasing the likelihood of con-
icts in marginal areas (Martínez-Alier et al., 2010). This has been
Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (D. Andreucci).
For an alternative understanding and conceptualisation of (neo-)extractivism, see
Brand et al. (2016).
facilitated by a shift in global political economic relations brought
about by globalisation, whereby emphasis on comparative advantage
and export-led growthhas resulted, for resource-rich countries in the
South, in a process of primarisation, or specialisation in primary re-
source exports (Muradian and Martínez-Alier, 2001). Recent research
as part of the Environmental Justice Atlas (EJAtlas) projecthas produced
a bottom-up documentation and mapping of the numerous conicts
over extraction taking place in various parts of the world and have
helped makevisible the violence perpetrated by states and corporations
against resisting populations (Martínez-Alier et al., 2016).
In this ecological economic literature, the violence of extraction is
observed and documented, but not analysed and explained in ways
that speakto broader conceptual debates. In particular, there is little en-
gagement with and theorisation of how violence is sanctioned, justied
and legitimated by the state. How is consensus built around extractivist
development, despite the violence it is predicated upon? In other
words, how do states get away with exercising repression against sec-
tors of the population, while claiming to act for the greater good of all?
To address these questions we shift attention to the institutional dis-
courses which sustain the imaginary of development, seeking to under-
stand how theyrelate to the role of violence in securing natural resource
extraction. Using the emblematic case of struggles over resource
extractivism in Peru as an entry point, we will explore the tension-
fraught relationship between the promise of inclusive, modernising
developmentenabled by transnationally-driven natural resource
exploitationand the repression and violence this extractive-led
growth model is necessarily predicated upon.
We address two specic, empirical objectives:
1. To unpack the ways in which resource-based development is discur-
sively naturalised, through narratives of improvementand
2. To explain how the tension between resource-based development
and the violence that sustains it is recomposed through a discursive
othering, targeting those who oppose extraction.
This provides the basis for a discussion on the interplay of develop-
ment, repression and discourse.
Through drawing insights from Michel Foucault's theory of
governmentality and biopolitics, we render explicit the connections be-
tween violence and the development imperative(Arsel et al., 2016),
and make two interrelated arguments. First, the purported universality
and benign character of development require substantial political work
in order to elicit support and neutralise potentially destabilising
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critiques. Second, as extractivist development shifts costs spatially onto
those who live in marginal areas, along expanding commodity frontiers,
it relies on imaginaries that separate these othersfrom the majority of
the population, justifying the exceptional use of violence against them.
Foucault's work has been extensively mobilised by political ecolo-
gists to reect on how society-nature relationships are governed
through politics of knowledge and subject-making (Valdivia, 2015).
However, these insights have not yet been adopted by ecological econ-
omists working on socio-environmental conicts. We hope that our re-
search opens an intellectual frontier for ecological economists who
want to integrate the study of conicts and their material causes with
analysis of the discursive mechanisms through which the development
process is sustained.
The article proceeds as follows. In the next section, we introduce
some insights from governmentalitystudies, as mobilised by political
ecologists. We argue that: a) resource-based development can be un-
derstood from a Foucauldian perspective as oriented towards improv-
ingpopulations through optimising resource exploitation; and b) the
discursive naturalisation of development-as-improvement is accompa-
nied by the discursive othering of those who oppose development, pre-
sented as enemies whose elimination is necessary for the betterment of
In sections three and four we explore these processes in the case of
Peru during the presidency of Alan García (20062011). The politics of
Peru have changed since, but García's period remains emblematic and
illustrative of the broader points we want to make about the discursive
framing of extractivist development and othering of those who resist.
First, we look at the ways the World Bank mobilised narratives of sus-
tainabilityto sustain the remaking of the country's extractive sector
and present it as both benign and necessary for the population's im-
provement. Second, we explore how the discursive targeting of indige-
nous groups opposing extraction allowed for a framing of repression as
necessary for the greater goodof Peru's development. As we will show,
García adopts from the World Bank a neoliberal narrative, whereby im-
provementis predicated on transnational cap ital's a bility to valorise the
country's untapped natural resourcesand therefore sees indigenous
resistance as a barrier to development.
In section ve, before concluding, we draw some broader empirical
patterns out of our single case-study, linking the experience of Peru to
that of other countries, and reect on the conceptual and practical im-
plications of our ndings.
The empirical research for this paper consisted of a content and dis-
course analysis of media articles and policy documents, including public
interventions by Peru's president Alan García in the context of struggles
with indigenous groups over hydrocarbon development. We looked at
and analysed loan agreements, policy papers and reports produced by
the World Bank over a 20-year period (19922012), concerning Peruvi-
an and Latin American extractive sector policies as well as relatedsocio-
environmental and development issues. The analysis was conducted
using Foucauldian discourse analysis strategies (Feindt and Oels, 2005;
Wetherell et al., 2001). A short period of eldwork was conducted by
the rst author in Lima, Peru in August and September 2011. This in-
cluded archival research at the repository library of the World Bank's
Peru headquarters in Lima, as well as nine in-depth interviews with ex-
perts of indigenous and environmental issues and state and World Bank
representatives. Interviews concerned Peru's policies for the extractive
sectors and development more generally, as well as the signicance
and implications of indigenous conicts against hydrocarbon develop-
ment in recent years.
2. Biopolitical Governmentality, Improvement and Racism
In this section, we argue that the frameworks of governmentality
and biopoliticsoffer a productive way of conceptualising the relation-
ship between the discursive naturalisation of resource-based develop-
ment and the legitimisation of repression which accompanies it.
The notion of governmentality was introduced by Foucault in the
lecture given on February 1st 1978 at the Collège the France. In this lec-
ture, he provided a broad denition of the term, giving three alterna-
tives, though partly overlapping meanings (Foucault, 2007, pp. 108
First, by governmentalityI understand the ensemble formed by in-
stitutions, procedures,analyses and reections, calculations, and tac-
tics that allow the exercise of this very specic, albeit very complex,
power that has the population as its target, political economy as its
major form of knowledge, and apparatuses of security as its essential
technical instrument. Second, by governmentalityI understand the
tendency, the line of force, that for a long time, and throughout the
West, has constantly led towards the pre-eminence over all other
types of powersovereignty, discipline, and so onof the type of
power that we can call governmentand which has led to the devel-
opment of a series of specic governmental apparatuses (appareils)
on the one hand, [and, on the other] to the development of a series
of knowledges (savoirs). Finally, by governmentalityIthinkwe
should understand the process, or rather, the result of the process
by which the state of justice of the Middle Ages became the admin-
istrative state in the fteenth and sixteenth centuries and was grad-
ually governmentalized.
In short, for Foucault, governmentality refers to a) a set of tactics and
knowledges for the exercise of a type of power targeting the population;
b) a historical tendency which led to the development of this type of
power; and c) the process through which the above-mentioned tactics
and knowledges are adopted by the state (how the state was
Most commonly, the notion of governmentality is used to signal a
shift from authoritarian, direct forms of rulewhat Foucault calls sover-
eign power’—to a more diffuse form of power through which an in-
creasingly administrative, bureaucratic state came to manage its
population and resources by employing a new set of savoirs or rational-
ities (such as statistics), which enabled an unprecedented degree of
control and surveillance over individual lives(Bakker and Bridge,
2008, p. 225). Importantly, while sovereign power, which remained
dominant at least until the seventeenth century, was centred on the
protection and expansion of territory, with the emergence of modern
forms of governmental rationality, the main target of control shifts to-
wards the population. In order to signal this shift, Foucault (2003) had
earlier introduced the notion of biopower(or biopolitics); that is, a
power focusing on the population understood as a biological and statis-
tical unit (Lemke, 2011). To a large extent, biopolitics is synonymous
with the rst of the three meanings of governmentalitydescribed
above; in this sense, it is possible to refer to the latter as a biopolitical
governmentality(Oksala, 2013).
Biopolitical governmentality emerges from the seventeenth century
to gradually replace sovereignty. Sovereign power refers to the tradi-
tional power of the monarch to make die’—to killthose who threaten
his territory; or alternatively, to let livethose that protect it. With the
emergence of biopolitical governmentality, and the consequent shift in
focus from territory to the population, power is no longer simply repres-
sive, but works thorough securing and promoting the health, productiv-
ity, reproduction and wellbeing of the population (Foucault, 2003;
Lekme, 2011). In this new model, expressed best in the historical emer-
gence of the science of political economy, the state is expected to take
of their role in the economy). Under biopolitics, rather than exercising
its prerogative to take lives, state power makes liveor, in its extreme,
lets die(Foucault, 2003, pp. 240241; Turhan et al., 2015, p. 297).
Note that, according to Foucault, biopolitical governmentality did not
fully replace sovereignty; a biopolitical rationality continues to be
complemented by a sovereign one (the importance of this point will be
made clear later in this section and the rest of the paper).
96 D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
2.1. Natural Resources and the Will to Improve
The notion of biopolitical governmentality allows us to capture the
naturalisation of resource-based development as a form of optimisation
of population's relationships with the environment.
Biopolitical governmentality seeks to enhance the productivity and
controllability of the population through improving its overall wellbeing.
The tactics described by Foucault under the label of governmentality sig-
nal an attempt to exercise power from a distance, through shaping human
conduct (hence the denition of government as the conduct of conduct).
As Li (2007, p. 4) summarises, [a]t the level of population, it is not possi-
ble to coerce every individual and regulate their actions in minute detail.
Rather, government operates by educating desires and conguring habits,
aspirations and beliefs. Here, power operates through calculated means
that seek to to improve the condition of the population, to increase its
wealth, its longevity, and its health(Foucault, 2007, p. 105). This is an es-
sential feature of government functioning in biopower mode:Now that
power is decreasingly the power of the right to take life, and increasingly
the right to intervene to make live, power begins to intervene mainly
in order to improve life(Foucault, 2003, p. 248).
Such a will to improve the population also mobilises nature. One of the
main targets of government intervention, for Foucault (2007, p. 97),is
men in their relationships, bonds, and complex involvements with
things like wealth, resources, means of subsistence, and, of course, the ter-
ritory with its borders, qualities, climate, dryness, fertility, and so on.Po-
litical ecologists have rendered explicit the way that biopolitical
governmentality, and its logic of improvement, works through managing
and optimising relationships between society and the environment, pop-
ulations and resources (Bakker and Bridge, 2008; Valdivia, 2008). The
label of green-oreco-governmentalityis often used to refer to work
mobilising Foucauldian categories for the study of how society-nature re-
lations are governed (Rutherford, 2007; Valdivia, 2015). This framework
is mobilised to analyse how certain knowledges about nature are pro-
duced as true, in order to shape the ways people interact with and use
resources and the environment, as well as to explore how these knowl-
edges are interiorised through process of education and subject-making.
The insight that biopolitical governmentality operates through the
purported goal of population improvement, and that it mobilises nature
discursively and materially to this end, makes this framework particularly
apt for political ecology approaches to analysing colonial and develop-
ment politics (e.g., Li, 2007). It is important to note here that develop-
mentdoes not just refer to small-scale, targeted interventions, typically
carried out by NGOs or aid agencies ostensibly aiming to rationalise re-
source use by local communities (Bryant, 2002). Development also sig-
nies broader, structural policies and actions aimed at remaking state
institutions and policies and remodelling the way state actors see and
manage environments and populations through national-scale interven-
tions (Goldman, 2001).
This point is of particular relevance for the analysis we carry out in
section three. As Michael Goldman (2001, 2005) has argued most con-
vincingly, in resource-rich, peripheral states, policies for the improve-
ment of populations via the optimisation of relationships with nature
are primarily directed through macro-scale, transnationally-led devel-
opment. First, efforts by states to optimise resource exploitation are in-
creasingly directed by international institutions and actors, such as
northernconservation agencies with direction and funding from the
World Bank. Second, and relatedly, the optimal relationship between
populations and the environment which leads to a purported improve-
ment is understood as taking place through export-oriented exploita-
tion of natural resources, often mediated by transnational capital.
2.2. Sovereign Power and Othering
This presents us with something of a paradox. The notion of
biopolitical (eco-)governmentality as described aboveas a form of in-
direct rule that exercises control through improvingsociety-
environment relationshipsdoes not seem to capture adequately the
reality of the world's commodity frontiers. Here, the exercise of sover-
eignpower often appears to prevail. As the example of African petro-
development shows perhaps most clearly, in the extractive periphery
a biopolitical will to improve can hardly be seen at work. Indeed, extrac-
tive regimes often operate according to radically different logic, which
generates fragmentary spaces, ecological disasters and authoritarian
rule (Ferguson, 2005; Holterman, 2014; Watts, 2003).
It is important here to avoid presenting a clear-cut dichotomy be-
tween biopolitical governmentality and sovereignty. As mentioned
above, the two rationalities are necessarily interrelated and comple-
mentary (Foucault, 2003). What needs to be accounted for, therefore,
is not the incompatibility of authoritarianism with a will to improve,
but rather how these two contradictory logics are made to coexist,soas
to guarantee that the developmental promise of biopolitics is not
undermined by the necessity of violence. As Foucault (2003, p. 257)
asked in relation to colonialism, if you are functioning in the biopower
mode, how can you justify the need to kill people, to kill populations, to
kill civilisations?. In other words, how to explain that a developmental
project, ostensibly centred on improving population wellbeing, is pred-
icated on violence, on the sovereign's right to make die, rather than on a
biopolitical duty to promote life?
As Foucault (2003, pp. 254255) explains, the key to understanding
this is racism. In biopolitical terms, racism for Foucault has two func-
tions. First, it is a way of introducing a break into the domain of life
that is under power's control: the break between what must live and
what must die. Second, it allows the establishment of a positive rela-
tion of this type: ... The very fact that you let more die will allow you
to live more’”. Thus, racism allows both the suspension of the state's
duty to promote life, upon which its legitimacy depends; and the repre-
sentation of its need to make dieas necessary for the greater good of
the population (Dean, 2010, pp. 163173; Lemke, 2011, pp. 4044).
Here, to dieis not meant in a strictly literal sense. Similarly, racism
does not necessarily refer to race in biological or ethnic terms, but it
could be any reied division inscribed into the population (Foucault,
2003, p. 261) and a characteristic ascribed to a segment of it. Foucault
uses the word racismto emphasise the origin of this form of thinking
in evolutionary biology. The relevance of this for contemporary devel-
opment conicts should not be underestimated (aren't development
and growthtoo, after all, biological metaphors?). Yet, it is perhaps
less ambiguous and less confusing to refer to this broader process as
othering(Carabine, 2001, p. 302). Othering allows the state to frame
parts of the population as different and exclude them from the domain
of responsibility of the ruler. To the extent that this other is also an
enemy which blocks improvementfor the rest of the population, this
legitimises his or her repression.
In the rest ofthe paper, we will show how these discursive strategies
are mobilised to legitimise repression in the case of resistance to oil de-
velopment in the Peruvian Amazon. First, however, we'll discusshow an
eco-governmentality logic is at play in the naturalisation of resource-
based development as the greater good.
3. ImprovingThrough Resource Extraction in Peru
Between 2002 and 2013, Peru underwent a period of sustained GDP
growth, emerging as one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin
America. Primary commodity exports were pivotal to achieving such a
strong performance (Arellano-Yanguas, 2008). In this period, thanks
to high international prices for primary commodities, the country expe-
rienced an extractive boomwhich helped reduce debts and contribut-
ed to reducing poverty and inequality rates (CEPAL, 2013). While both
the country's resource wealth and favourable international conditions
were necessary conditions for Peru's economic success, the expansion
of resource exports was enabled through a profound, and
transnationally-led, political economic restructuring, started in the
97D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
The reforms promoted under the authoritarian governments of
Alberto Fujimori (19902000) entailed a series of aggressive
liberalisation and privatisation policies for the promotion of foreign di-
rect investment. These were enshrined in a new constitution approved
in 1992 and protected by shutting down the parliament in Fujimori's
(in)famous auto-golpe’—self-inicted coupthe same year (Bury,
2005). This economic approach posed the bases for Peru's integration
in the global economy as a neoliberal poster-child and an ideal target
for transnational extractive investment. By dismantling the inward-ori-
ented model started in the late 1960s, this reform process remade Peru
into an export-led, extractivist economy (Bury, 2005). The country's ex-
tractive sector underwent a profound process of economic
liberalisation. In line with global developments (Bridge, 2004), Peru
changed its mining and hydrocarbon laws in order to facilitate foreign
investment in extractives (Arellano-Yanguas, 2008). At the same time,
aggressive privatisation was carried out, justied as necessary to gener-
ate revenues and promote the country's image and competitiveness
(Bury, 2005). These reforms prepared the ground for the expansion of
primary exports in the following decade.
The way that the World Bank framed and justied such reforms of-
fers an example of the effort and political work that went into present-
ing transnationally-led resource exploitation as the key to the country's
development. We do not mean to imply that there is a complete coin-
cidence between the Bank's policy discourse and goals and those of the
government of Peru; there are, however, striking commonalities
between the two, recognised by both parts (World Bank, 2006, p. 1;in-
terview withWorld Bank representative, 06/09/2011), which justify our
attention to the Bank's approach and discourseto which we now turn.
3.1. World Bank's Involvement and Approach
The World Bank proactively endorsed, guided and funded the
restructuring of Peru's extractive sector. This restructuring entailed the
privatisation of previously state-owned mining and hydrocarbon rms
as well as the reorganisation of related legal frameworks so as to foster
foreign direct investment (World Bank, 1999, 1993). Through its corpo-
rate arm, moreoverthe International Financial Corporation (IFC)the
Bank entered in direct partnerships as investor in some of the largest
and most controversial extractive projects in the country, such as the
Camisea gas eld and open-pit mines in Yanacocha and Conga (EJAtlas,
2016; Hallman and Olivera, 2015; Oxfam America, 2008; World Bank,
2011a, 1994).
Beyond restructuring, the Bank increasingly invested in the
stabilisationof Peru's model of resource-based development (see
Himley, 2013). Sustainabilitywas one of the main keywords behind
this stabilisation effort, which tried to recompose the fundamental frac-
ture between its (and the Peruvian state's) version of a biopolitical will
to improveand the negative socio-environmental implications of natural
resource extraction.
Starting in the 1990s, sustainabilityhas been at the centre of a shift in
global discourse and policy (Bernstein, 2001), observed in the extractive
industries as well (Himley, 2010). As a response to criticism for the nega-
tive socio-environmental impacts of its large infrastructural projects and
structural adjustmentprogrammes, the World Bank also underwent a
process of internal reform which gave sustainability increased centrality
(Goldman, 2005). The Bank took a leading role in institutionalising the
mantraof sustainability and placing it at the centre of the global develop-
ment agenda (World Bank, 1992). Thus, if at the beginning of the reform
process environmental concerns were expected to limit signicantly the
Bank's activity, the opposite actually happened: the Bank found itself in
the enviable position of having an expanding loan portfolio and aglobally
adopted environmental agenda, which it calls environmentally sustain-
able development(Goldman 2005, p. 154, original emphasis).
Adopted from the second half of the 1990s, the revised World Bank
agendacalled comprehensive development framework’—was based
on substitution of structural adjustmentwith poverty reduction
strategies, and favoured the adoption of principles such civil society par-
ticipation,transparency,country ownership,andthelike(
2004; Goldman, 2005; Peet, 2009). Sustainability was central to this
turn. The reform process also involved the Bank's approach to resource
extraction, particularly with the launch of a broad Extractive Industries
Reviewin the early 2000s. A central achievement of reform was to
allow the World Bank to deepen its intervention into the affairs of
borrowing countries (Cammack, 2004, p. 197). This entailed a much
more proactive role in managing how states and populations think and
act vis-à-vis resources and the environment (Goldman, 2001). In other
words, by concerning itself with people's welfare and environmental
issuesby infusing its approach with a biopolitical will to improve’—the
Bank transformed itself into a much more proactive agent of (eco-
3.2. Rendering Extraction Sustainable
This new approach is at work in the World Bank's involvement in
Peru. Poverty reduction and, later, inclusiveness and equality occupied
an increasingly central place in the Bank's development agenda for the
country (World Bank, 2011b). Sustainability was also central to the
Bank's strategy for Peru (World Bank, 2007, 2005). Emphasis on mak-
ing growth sustainableis present as a concern in all the Country Assis-
tance Strategypapers since the early 1990s, and increasingly from the
2000s on (World Bank, 2006, 2002, 1997, 1994).
In 2007, following a two-year-long process of Country Environmen-
tal Analysis, the Bank published a long report called Environmental Sus-
tainability:Key to Poverty Reduction in Peru. Here, the Bank's concern for
the environment is justied on two grounds. First, natural resources are
economically important: if managed sustainably, Peru's profuse en-
dowment of natural resources could become a pillar of an increasingly
diversied and robust economy(World Bank, 2007, p. 2). Second, the
Bank is aware that an economy based on resource extraction is likely
to create environmental destruction and conicts. Therefore, it proposes
a set of guidelines
to help design and implement policies to (a) improve the effective-
ness and efciency of Peru's environmental management system;
and (b) integrate principles of sustainable development into keysec-
tor policies, with an emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable
groups (World Bank, 2007, p. 2).
Following the report, a series of three environmental development
policy loans(one of which specically dedicated to mining), for a
total disbursement of $425 million, was approved in 2009. This project
helped to nance and organise Peru's rst Ministry of the Environment,
as well as other environmental development projects and institutional
changes (World Bank, 2009).
In the Bank's policy agenda for remaking the Peruvian extractive
sector, it is possible to detect a tension between the need to support
continued expansion of the extractive sector and a degree of awareness
of the environmental and social risks associated with such a strategy.
The Bank staff were at pains to present extractivism and sustainability
not only as compatible, but indeed as mutually reinforcing.First,sustain-
ability is presented as necessary for extractive sector expansion, as
those countries with competent environmental management have an
advantage in the attraction of new investment(World Bank, 1996, p.
63). Second, and most interesting, extractive industries are presented
as key to promoting sustainability (Liebenthal et al., 2005, p. x):
Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs. Given that scal revenues constitute a major source of net
benets... obtained from the extraction of mineral resources, the in-
terests of future generations can be protected through the efcient
utilization of these revenues for people in the host country.
98 D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
In this imaginative rephrasing of the classic, Rio Declaration deni-
tion of sustainability (see Bernstein, 2001), the Bank operates a cona-
tion of protability and environmental sustainable development.
Population improvement, in other words, is expected to take place
through transnationally-driven, export-oriented nature's capitalisation.
While this strategy partly paid off in economic terms, it did not come
without contradictions.
4. Oil, Violence and Otheringin the Peruvian Amazon
The aggressive promotion of resource extraction in Peru has been a
hotly contested process. Perhaps most signicant in this sense are the
years of the government of Alan García Pérez (20062011), at once
the most economically successful period and the one which registered
the highest levels of conictuality in the country's recent history.
Much of the extraction-driven developmentdid not reach signicant
parts of Peru's population, most notably highland and rainforest com-
munities that are most affected by the negative socio-environmental
impacts of extraction (Bebbington and Bury, 2009; Drinot, 2011, pp.
184185). As several scholars and activists, drawing on data of Peru's
Ombudsman for Human Rights, have pointed out, during Garcia's ad-
ministration there was a surge in socio-environmental conicts, a
large percentage of which related to extractive projects
(Merino-Acuña, 2015; Orta-Martínez and Finer, 2010).
A large share of these conicts took placein this conjuncturein
the rainforest regions east of the Andes, where a large number of indig-
enous peoples live, but which also contains vast untapped oil and gas re-
serves. Since the mid-2000s, the Peruvian Amazon experienced a boom
in hydrocarbon activities (Finer and Orta-Martínez, 2010). Between
2004 and 2006, the surface of the region zoned for oil and gas explora-
tions grew from about 13% to a staggering 72%. As (Finer et al., 2008, p.
2932) explain, at least 58 of the 64 zoning blocks created overlay lands
titled to Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, 17 blocks overlap areas that
have proposed or created reserves for Indigenous groups in voluntary
isolation.Thesurgeofconicts which ensued was therefore highly
The hydrocarbon boom resulted from a combination of a sharp rise
in oil prices and the Peruvian state's efforts to open the sector to foreign
direct investment. As the already favourable terms provided by neolib-
eral restructuring in the 1990s proved insufcient to foster signicant
hydrocarbon discoveries, in 2003, the government of Alejandro Toledo
(20012006) further lowered royalties on new contracts (from 30% to
13.8%) and introduced a series of other incentives (Mayorga-Alva,
2006, pp. 387389). According to a 2007 World Bank report, the key
to Peru's hydrocarbon boom was in the high prices and the incoming
risk capital investments attracted by both geological potential and a se-
cure legal framework(Mayorga-Alva, 2006, p. 391)secure, of course,
for foreign capital. Two recommendations follow in the report. First, to
further tailor incentives to the challenge of exploring frontier areas;
second, to resist the regional populist political wage and the tempta-
tion of contesting contracts [so as to] preserve Peru's competitive posi-
tion. (We will show later why this latter point is important).
4.1. From Resistance to Repression
The promotion of extractive investment in the Amazon continued
during the García administration. In 2008, following the ratication of
a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, the Peruvian gov-
ernment issued a legislative package aimed at further liberalising in-
vestment, referred to by critics as the Law of the Jungle(Ley de la
Selva). The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian
Rainforest (AIDESEP)the main network of Amazonian indigenous
organisationsdenounced that some of these decrees were particularly
harmful for local populations. Specically, they a) facilitated private in-
vestors' acquisition of land and resources titled to native communities;
b) allowed the state to control indigenous territory deemed idle or
unproductive; c) suspended, in case of lands for mining use and the ex-
ploitation of oil and gas, indigenous peoples' constitutional rights to
free, prior and informed consent(Alimonda et al., 2009, pp. 148150;
Merino-Acuña, 2015, p. 90). This created an unprecedented wave of
protests and conicts, culminating in what has come to be known as
the Bagua massacre (or Baguazo).
The indigenous revolt of 20082009a ten-month long series of
demonstrations, including road and river blockades and occupation of
oil company facilitieswas themost important instance of pan-Amazo-
nian indigenous struggle in Peru's recent history (Alimonda et al., 2009,
p. 25). It was the culmination of a long trajectory of indigenous organi-
sation in the Amazon region (Greene, 2009). Signicantly, indigenous
resistance opposed not a single extractive project, but resource-based
development more broadly. The movement had a tragic end. In April
2009, pushing for the repeal of some of the decrees, hundreds of protes-
tors blockaded a motorway, in a stretch of road known as the devil's
curve(curva del diablo), near Bagua, in the departamento (district) of
Amazonas. On 5th of June, with negotiations between indigenous orga-
nisations and the parliament still ongoing, the military police were sent
in to disperse the blockadean operation which resulted in 33 deaths
and over 200 injured (Amnesty International, 2009, p. 7).
The clashes in Bagua were the result of a double suspension of dem-
ocratic rule. The rst was a three-month period of special powers given
to García in December 2007 in order to pass laws by decreethat is,
without the parliament's approvalrelated the with provisions of the
FTA with the US (Alimonda et al., 2009, p. 85). The second was the de-
claring of a 60-day state of emergency in the Amazon, in May-June
2009, to contain the increasing indigenous mobilisation (Amnesty
International, 2009, n. 24).
The Bagua massacre was not an isolated
case. Between 2009 and 2010 only, the government recurred six times
to declaring the state of emergency and to deploying armed forces,
two of which were for cases of extraction conict (Coordinadora
Nacional de Derechos Humanos, 2011, pp. 3437). In terms of state vio-
lence, the record of the García administration is particularly grim, hav-
ing resulted in 191 deaths related to social and ecological conicts (El
Comercio, 2011). This hardly ts with declared ambitions of sustainabil-
ity and inclusiveness.
4.2. The Internal Enemy
García's attempt to recompose the contradiction between develop-
ment and violence at the centre of Peru's growth strategy was predicat-
ed on depicting indigenous groups resisting extraction as enemies of
the people(Drinot, 2011). In a series of notorious editorials, García
used the image of the dog in the mangerto target indigenous groups
(García-Pérez, 2007a, 2007b, 2008). Like the dog in Aesop's fablewho
can't eat from the manger, yet doesn't let other animals eat eitherthe
indigenous have no use for the Amazon's abundant natural resources,
yet they don't let anyone else exploit them. [They are] opposed to in-
vestment, and incapable of explaining how, with a poor agriculture, it
is possible to make a leap towards greater levels of development
(García-Pérez, 2007a; all translations are by the authors). By hindering
development, indigenous peoples condemn themselves and the rest of
the country to poverty and backwardness. These articial communi-
ties, as García calls them, own 200,000 hectares on paper but only
farm 10,000 hectares, while the rest is idle property, unused.They
Severe violations of human rights occurred during and after the police operation. This
included the use of rearms against protestors and bystanders, including children; denial
of access to legal and medical aid and illegal detention, ill-treatment and torture of pro-
testers.Indigenous leadersnot present in Bagua were also detained illegally, chargedwith
apologyof crimes against the publicorder. These accusations targeted especially Alberto
Pizango, leader of AIDESEP, who was also accused of rebellion, sedition and conspiracy
against the state and the constitutional order (Amnesty International 2009).
Under the state of emergency, the rights to freedom and free movement, inviolability
of the home and freedom of assembly were suspended, while the armed forces took re-
sponsibility for maintaining public order (Amnesty International 2009).
99D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
have invented the gure of the uncontacted tribe, so that millions of
hectares cannot be explored, and Peru's petroleum must remain under-
ground while the world is paying $US 90 per barrel(García-Pérez,
García's is, in its way, a development discourse, of (eco-
)governmentality as will to improvebased on correctly managing rela-
tions between people and things. His narrative is rst and foremost one
of underutilised resources, which Peru is unable to mobilise due to ir-
rationalsocial opposition. It is clear that, for García, putting natural re-
sources to protable use means rendering them amenable to capitalist
valorisation, because if the land is unproductive for [indigenous com-
munities] it could be productive with a high level of investment or
know-how brought in by a new buyer(García-Pérez, 2007a). Especial-
ly for larger-scale projectsGarcía mentions oil, mining and large dams
among other examplesthis has to be done by large private or interna-
tional capital that needs very long-term security to invest billions and to
be able to recover the investment(García-Pérez, 2007a).
In relation to mining, the reference to an understanding of sustain-
abilitysimilar to that of the World Bank is clear. Despite the country's
large mineral endowment, he argues, only one tenth of these resources
are being developed, because we are still arguing over whether mining
technologies destroy the environment(García-Pérez, 2007a). Howev-
er, for García,
This is an issue of the past century. Of course, mining did once de-
stroy it and today's environmental problems are basically due to
yesterday's mines, but today mines live alongside cities without
any problems; and, in any case, it all depends on how strict the State
is in its technology demands of mining companies and in negotiating
agreaternancial and employment share for the departments
where the mines are located (García-Pérez, 2007a).
We see here a similar conation of sustainability and protability to
that discussed above, in relation to the Bank's eco-governmentality ap-
proach (Section 3.2;World Bank, 2005). This is a discourse of neoliberal,
sustainable development, whereby the main agent of supposed im-
provementis private property and investment, particularly by transna-
tional capital, capable of valorising the country's untapped resources.
The other side of this narrative is García's conating of socio-envi-
ronmental opposition with socialist statism. Resources are left
because [of] the old anti-capitalist communist of the nineteenth cen-
tury dressed up as the protectionist in the twentieth century and
changes his colours again inthe twenty-rst century to that of an en-
vironmentalist. But it is always anticapitalist, against investment,
without explaining how, with poor farming, the leap can be made
to greater development (García-Pérez, 2007a).
In a later intervention, García draws an interesting association be-
tween indigenous protesters and environmentalists with a wider net-
work of antisystemicmovements aligned with the (then ascendant)
Latin American left. While these opponents of modernityand prosper-
itydo not have sufcient force to oppose development, they are
favouring the penetration of foreign forces, of dictatorial statism. The
reference to Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales is clear here: we live a
cold war in which foreign rulers participate. For now, those who repre-
sent external penetration are losing(García-Pérez, 2009). In this con-
text, the conict in Bagua is presented as a deliberate and
premeditated attempt by antisystemic movements to destabilise the
country and undermine its achievements.
Lastly, García's is equally, and without contradiction, a racist dis-
course, in Foucault's sense described above: a discourse of usversus
them, those who want development against those who block it. In an
editorial entitled A la fe de la inmensa mayoría—‘To the faith of the vast
majority’—García-Pérez (2009) opposes the silent majority of good,
working people who benet from the government's projectand support
its defence of democracyand openness, with a minority of anti-sys-
temic, green, indigenous and anticapitalist movements. They are a mi-
nority, and the only way they have to gain visibility is to block roads,
create instability.
But they are wrong because the immense majority thinks differently
from them [] So all they can do is present 50,000 people protesting
in different places as if it was the whole country. [] But they shall
not pass. Because the democratic and rational majority is immense
even though it is silent (García-Pérez, 2009).
The othering of indigenous peoples, and those who support them, is
thus coterminous with García's depiction of them as enemies of the
The violence which sustains extraction is therefore implicitly
justied as the necessary condition of possibility of the country's
5. Governmentality, Extraction and Conicts
The two stories aboveabout the World Bank's development and
sustainability narrative and García's discursive othering of indigenous
movements and their supportersreveal an uneasy relationship be-
tween two governmental rationalities, biopolitics and sovereignty. On
the one hand,there is a logic of eco-governmentality as will to improve,
understood as a way of managing the population centred on optimising
society-environment relations. On the other hand, we have a territorial
and developmental logic which runs in the opposite direction, one
which produces fragmentary, conictual and highly unequal spaces,
and is conducive of forms of rule based on violence, racism and
While these rationalities appear as antithetic, they should be consid-
ered not only as coexisting, but indeed as complementary. The very
logic of developmentor biopolitical improvement, via the optimisa-
tion of society-nature relationsgenerates the need for sovereignvio-
lence. No matter how green-washed, the extractive development of
Peru's hydrocarbons requires monumental material transformations of
territories, and inevitably meets resistance from those who suffer its im-
pacts. Violence to repress those who stand in the way of extraction is
therefore rendered necessary for the purported improvementto take
place. Hence the importance of racismor othering, as a discursive strat-
egy whose deployment is key to recomposing the contradiction be-
tween the two logics.
5.1. Taking Discourse Seriously
Seeing extractivism through a governmentalitylens allows us to
expand the conceptualisation of environmental conicts, beyond the
materialistapproach of ecological economics. Ecological economists
tend to see these conicts through the lens of distributional (in)justice
in the context of a demand-driven expansion of commodity frontiers
(Martínez-Alier et al., 2010). However, we argue that recognising the
signicance of governmentality as will to improve’—in its interplay
with sovereignty and othering’—provides an important complement
to this framework.
First, a governmentality approach allows us to take seriously the
positiveelement of (market-mediated) will to improveat the heart
of extractivism. Extractivism contains a utopianaspect (cf. Harvey,
2005, p. 18). It is not just a political economic and ecological project
for supplying industrial centres with raw materials (and rent) extracted
in the world's periphery; it is also, signicantly, a developmental vision
based on unleashing society's and nature's potential through the mar-
ket. In García's Peru we see a project and discourse of neoliberal devel-
opment, presented as modernising, just and inclusivea vision which
There are clear parallels here, which we cannot develop in this paper, with Laclau's
(2005) theory of populism.
100 D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
the World Bank has helped to frame in terms of sustainability.Thisisof
course extremely problematic, as it assumes that only nature's
capitalisationthe much-contested politics of resource exploitation
and communities' dispossessioncan lead to sustainability, develop-
ment and improvement. Yet, this positive or utopian element should
not be dismissed as rhetorical. Taking it seriously can perhaps help us
to account for the incredible resilienceof extractivism in the face of
the tensions and contradictions which necessarily accompany its
Second, and relatedly, it allows us to capture the ways that states can
legitimise the objective and subjective violence suffered by communi-
ties that oppose this development model. As we demonstrated in the
case of Peru, not only does racismor othering suspend the state's
duty to promote life, thus allowing it to let diea part of the population
with no contradiction; it also justies such a violence as necessary for
the greater good of the population: the need to sacrice the internal
other/enemy for the benet of the majority's development (Drinot,
2011). In this way, the state can maintain, in most cases, a degree of le-
gitimacy and support which seems inexplicable when seen from the
point of view of those who resist.
Writing on the global environmental justice movement,Martínez-
Alier et al. (2016, p. 15) argue that what Naomi Klein (2014, chap. 9)
called the blockadiamovementthe movement that struggles to stop
fossil fuel (and other mineral) extraction projectsis a key actor in a
transition to a more socially and environmentally just world. Ecological
economists working on ecological distribution conictshave long fo-
cused their attention onto the materialcauses of conicts, their roots
in the social metabolism of the global economy. Their proposed solu-
tions have also been primarily centred on this natural-material base: a
more just distribution of environmental benets and burdens, recogni-
tion of ecological debts and unequal exchange, reduction of the social
metabolism through leaving oil (and other minerals) in the soiland,
more broadly, through promoting post-extractivismand degrowth
(Martínez-Alier, 2012).
While there is value in these proposals, we hope to have shown the
importance of focusing on the discursive strategies that are mobilised by
states and international organisations with the aim of depoliticising re-
source-based development as the greater good, despite the enormous
impacts and conicts it generates. As it emerges clearly from the em-
blematic case presented in our article, as in many others across the
globe, those who oppose extraction and related forms of dispossession
are likely to meet state (or state-sanctioned) violence and repression.
This, most strikingly, and despite notable exceptions, happens with
the support of the silent majoritiespraised by the likes of Alan García.
This contributes to delegitimising and politically isolating socio-envi-
ronmental movements, whose achievements seldom go beyond resis-
tanceto the expansion of capitalist relations and commodity frontiers.
Whether blockadia and the global environmental justice movement
will succeed, therefore, depends on how well these struggles manage
to articulate into a broader project of emancipatory socio-environmen-
tal transformation that concerns not only affected territories, but a
broader bloc of eco-territorial, class and popular-democratic struggles
(Calvário and Kallis, 2016). To this end, it is important to take seriously
the political work of discourse in naturalising capitalist development
and legitimising the violence which sustains it.
5.2. Extractivism and Othering
Our empirical exploration of the interplay of improvement and vio-
lence in resource-based developmentenables us to add to current
conceptualisations of governmentality in political ecology. The comple-
mentarily between biopolitics and sovereignty is not of course specic
to the extractivist projects. Yet, there are some specicities in the
mode of articulation between the two in the extractive periphery,which
deserve further research and theorisation.
First, this dialectics of improvement and violence expresses itself, to
an important extent, in spatial terms. The uneven development patterns
resulting from the political economy of extractivism become inscribed
in, and reproduced by, the type of imaginaries mobilised in Alan García's
discourse. Geographies of resource extraction, therefore, interplay with
the state's imaginative geographies(Said, 2003), or processes of dis-
cursive production of certain spaces as other. Commodity frontiers, as
any frontier, are distant and far-way, spatially the otherof the centres
where urban populations reside. As exceptional spaces are produced,
where the expectation of improvementis suspended, the people who
reside there are reframed as recalcitrant others, as a different part of
the population, which is not like us, the silent, democratic majority,
and which does not deserve the same treatment. In this way, Foucault's
notion of racism-as-othering takes on a geographical dimension: spaces
of extraction come to shape, or become intertwined with, the very limits
of the life-promoting duties of the state, dening affected communities
as populations which can be left to die(or even made to die) in the
name of development (Banerjee, 2008).
Second, in resource-rich, post-colonial contexts such as Peru,
otheringdoes often assume a biological-racial dimension, whereby
features such as backwardness, inability to develop and make use of re-
sources are inscribed into an essentialised image of indigenous popula-
tions, drawing on deep-seated cultural perceptions. Here racism can be
partly be understood in a literal sense (even though, as we have seen in
García's discourse, othering is much broader and conates political with
ethnic referents). Indeed, For Drinot (2011, p. 190), through racism,
García operates a conation of the political adversary with the
biopolitical enemy:
what García invokes when he refers to communists, protectionists
and environmentalists, that is when he refers to a recalcitrant anti-
capitalist Other, is Peru's indigenous population, or, more precisely,
that whichthe indigenous population is seen torepresent in the pro-
ject of rule: backwardness. What the fear expresses is the belief
that indigeneity is a block to national advancement (Drinot, 2011,
p. 183).
The same association between ethic and political architectures of
enmity(Gregory, 2004, p. 20) can take place in contexts with different
political conditions. In Bolivia, for instance, despite a progressive and os-
tensibly pro-indigenous presidency, indigenous organisations opposing
natural resource extraction have been targeted, using a very similar dis-
cursive logic to that of Alan García's (Andreucci and Radhuber, 2015).
Though with different political referentsno longer communists in dis-
guise but agents of imperialismand green Trotskyists’—indigenous
groups are similarly associated with backwardness and accused of
blocking development for the rest of us(e.g., Laing, 2012; Pellegrini
and Ribera Arismendi, 2012).
This is of course a much broader dynamic and a strikingly common
discursive logic, which is systematically mobilised in instances of
socio-environmental conicts, without necessarily drawing on racial
content in a strict sense.
The third and last specicity of governmentality in the resource-rich
periphery, and in the global southmore generally, is that the process-
es of state remaking of the type described in this paper are
transnationally-directed. When we introduced the denition of
governmentality in section two, we noted that one of the meanings of
the term proposed by Foucault is the process by which the state
was gradually governmentalized(2007, pp. 108109); that is, the his-
torical process through which biopolitical knowledges and technologies
of rule have been appropriated by states. For Foucault, whose focus was
on Western Europe, this is was more or less endogenous' process, a his-
torical co-evolution of the state form and biopower. As we have shown,
however, the governmentalisation of the Peruvian statethe way it
On degrowth as an eme rging political paradigm, see D'Alisa et al. (2014);on
degrowth-related debates in ecological economics, see Kallis (2011).
101D. Andreucci, G. Kallis / Ecological Economics 134 (2017) 95103
assimilated green-neoliberal rationalities of improvement’—happened
through the active intervention of the World Bank and other transna-
tional actors
(cf. Goldman, 2001). Above and beyond attention to
micro-processes of subject-making, therefore, Foucauldian insights
could be further mobilised in political ecology for analysing the geneal-
ogy of environmental states in the global northas well as for under-
standing the transnationally-led production of extractiviststates in
the periphery.
6. Conclusions
This paper contributed to ecological economic literatures on ecolog-
ical distribution conicts in context of expansion of resource extraction
activities, by analysing and theorising the interplay of development and
violence with narratives of sustainabilityand processes of discursive
othering. We argued that while, in ecological economics, the violence
of extraction is observed and documented, and related to increases in
the global social metabolism, it is not analysed and explained in ways
that speak to broader conceptual debates. In particular, there is little en-
gagement with and theorisation of how violence is sanctioned, justied
and legitimated by the state. In this paper, through mobilising an analyt-
ical framework drawn from a governmentalityapproach, and using the
emblematic case of struggles over resource-based development in Peru
under Alan García (20062011) asan entry point, we explored the ten-
sion-fraught relationship between the promise of inclusive,
modernising developmentenabled by transnationally-driven natural
resource exploitationand the repression and violence this extractive-
led growth model is necessarily predicated upon.
We showed that a discourse of improvementfuelled by extraction-
based development is necessarily in contradiction with the negative
socio-environmental impacts it inicts on those who live along the ex-
tractive frontiers. Such unevenness is an intrinsic feature of capitalist
development, and generates resistance and reaction, which threatens
to destabilise and hinder the unfolding of extractivism. This shows
that the purported benign character of development requires substan-
tial political workin order to elicit support and neutralise potentially
destabilising critiques. At the same time, as extractivist development
shifts costs spatially onto those who live in marginal areas, along
expanding commodity frontiers, it relies on imaginaries that separate
these othersfrom the majority of the population, justifying the excep-
tional use of violence against them. We claimed, therefore, that taking
seriously the workings of institutional discourses of improvement,
and the governmental rationalities that underpin them, can help to ac-
count for the paradoxical resilience and broad acceptance of resource-
based development, despite its severe socio-environmental impacts
and the widespread conicts it generates.
Fieldwork in Peru was funded through a Research Travel Bursary of
the National University of Ireland, Galway (2010 2011). We wish to
acknowledge funding from the Galway Doctoral Scholarship scheme
of the National University of Ireland, Galway and from the People Pro-
gramme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union Seventh Frame-
work Programme, under REA agreement No. 289374 –“ENTITLE.
Were indebted to Juli Hazlewood, Stefano Varese and all those whopar-
ticipated in and supported our research in Peru.Thanks also to Terrence
McDonough, Federico Demaria, Gavin Bridge, Maura Benegiamo and
two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous versions
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... As a result, the strategies to materialise large-scale gold mining adapt and evolve, assuming more subtle ways to silence the opposition. In seeking to contain resistance, 'deviant' positions that go against the extractive agendas are neutralised and moralised, e.g., in Germany (Brock and Dunlap, 2018), Peru (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017) and Ecuador (Valladares and Boelens, 2019;Leifsen, 2020). Irrespective of the particularities within and between communities for resisting, negotiating or accepting mining, people are categorised in polar opposites in an effort to frame and tame their underlying exigencies and aspirations. ...
... The problematic extractive entanglements we exemplified through the case of Orlovka are not externalities or unintended consequences of extractivism. They manifest the paradoxical discursive strategies the state steers for re/constructing relations and materialising large-scale mining that we observe beyond Kyrgyzstan (e.g., Andreucci and Kallis, 2017;Brock and Dunlap, 2018;Valladares and Boelens, 2019;Leifsen, 2020). The resistance we have uncovered in Orlovka, Kyrgyzstan is one of many movements that challenge extractivism (Valladares and Boelens, 2019). ...
... The resistance we have uncovered in Orlovka, Kyrgyzstan is one of many movements that challenge extractivism (Valladares and Boelens, 2019). Yet, extractivism remains resilient (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017). We attribute this resilience to the imaginary of creating a flattened world where all places supposedly have the same opportunities for prosperity (Sheppard and Leitner, 2010). ...
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Faced with mounting resistance against mining, neoliberal governance resorts to polarising strategies that delegitimise the heterogenous positions people hold regarding mining. In this paper, we contrast and complicate these dichotomies with the lived experiences on the ground in Kyrgyzstan. We focus on the ‘Taldy-Bulak Levoberezhny’ gold mine near the town of Orlovka that has been lauded by the state and business community as a paragon of company-community ‘cooperation’. We question how the gold mine has come to be an exemplary case of cooperation in a conflict-rife sector. Based on behavioural experiments, surveys, and in-depth inquiry, we follow and unpack entanglements of valuations, discourses and practices that have repackaged Orlovka from a former Soviet mining town in depression into a putative model of progress. Our interdisciplinary account unravels the contradictory processes of re/making extractive frontiers and managing resistance to extractivist expansion that interweave neoliberal practices with nationalist discourses. Beneath the discourses praising Orlovka, we find a community that has never stopped resisting despite consenting to the gold mine. The extractive entanglements we unearth exemplify the diversity of exigencies and aspirations behind resisting, negotiating and/or allowing mining while attesting to the diversified portfolio of tactics that silence and delegitimise these life concerns.
... The documents include primarily public statements by political leaders of the three countries in the period considered, laws, parliamentary proceedings, press releases, corporate websites and public marketing campaigns. They were analysed using qualitative analysis informed by Foucault's theory of discourse (Feindt and Oels, 2005), in order to present the most salient 'discursive strategies' (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017;Carabine, 2001;Winkel, 2012) related to the governance of lithium. The document analysis was complemented by a thorough review of secondary scientific and 'grey' literature, notably environmental organisations' reports on socio-environmental issues and conflicts related to lithium extraction in the three countries. ...
... Mining conflicts are not just struggles over territories and their resources, but nodes within broader contests over knowledges, worldviews, identities and the configuration of development. Political ecologists have amply documented the ways in which corporate and state actors use discourses within territorial contests to safeguard and maintain modes of resource and rent extraction (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017). As Bridge and McManus (2000: 20) put it, 'environmental discourses represent a significant component of a mode of regulation that may be emerging to stabilize contradictions inherent to the relationship between [extractive] capital and the environment'. ...
... While attempts to present mining and hydrocarbon extraction as sustainable have long taken place (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017), in the case of lithium two circumstances make these discursive strategies especially salient. First, lithium's unique materiality and mode of extraction make it amenable to being discursively framed as 'eco-friendly'. ...
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The lithium extractive industry is expanding, as technological and economic shifts associated with climate change mitigation goals drive global demand for lithium-ion batteries. This article explores the case of the ‘Lithium Triangle’, a region of Latin America (spanning Bolivia, Chile and Argentina) that contains the world’s largest reserves, and where environmental conflicts associated with lithium mining have proliferated. Emphasising the centrality of discourse in resource governance, we analyse the discursive strategies employed by institutional actors seeking to promote and render acceptable lithium extraction in the region. We argue that such strategies reproduce imaginaries of prosperity and modernisation long attached to oil and mineral wealth, while at the same time introducing a novel association of mining with high-tech industries, ‘green jobs’ and ‘climate-friendly’ extraction, seeking to obscure the social and ecological costs of lithium production. This inaugurates an era of ‘green extractivism’, whereby intensive resource exploitation is framed not only as compatible with climate change, but indeed as necessary to its mitigation. Our findings contribute to ongoing conversations regarding post-fossil fuel ‘transitions’, by highlighting the contradictory character of mitigation strategies that rely on mineral-intensive development.
... On one hand, othering those affected by the violence of environmental harm and dispossession serves to suspend the responsibility of the state (or multilateral institutions) for guaranteeing the wellbeing of such groups, typically already marginalised and racialised populations (Andreucci & Kallis, 2017). A related expression of such othering is the production of certain territories as "sacrifice zones" of extraction and waste (De Rosa, 2018), increasingly also associated with the "green energy" economy (Zografos & Robbins, 2020). ...
... It shows how the biopolitical logic of development is always accompanied by a necropolitical one (García López, 2020), as well as the role of othering as a technology that underpins both, and permits reconciling their contradictory coexistence. We argued above that othering permits undermining and repressing opposition to extractivism, violently if necessary, and sacrificing local populations for the "greater good"; framed in such a way, "killing" becomes a legitimate political duty of the state (Andreucci & Kallis, 2017;Holterman, 2014). In the case of "green" energy, moreover, framing extractive-infrastructural projects as necessary and urgent not only for local and national development, but for the planet itself, renders opposition to them all the more easily framed as selfish and irrational. ...
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In this article, we argue that othering is central to the government of climate change. Critically engaging with Foucault’s ideas on biopolitics and racism, we elaborate a conceptual perspective for analysing how such a “technology of government” operates. We review diverse literatures from geography, political ecology, critical adaptation studies and the environmental humanities dealing with discursive constructions of the other in three exemplary areas of intervention—mitigation (particularly “green” mineral extraction for renewable energy production); constructions of “vulnerability” in adaptation policies; and the governing of “climate migrants”. We contend that these interventions largely work through the extension of capitalist relations, underpinned by racist and colonial ways of seeing populations and territories as “in need of improvement”. And that, by legitimising and depoliticizing such interventions, and by suspending responsibility for their unwanted or even deadly impacts, othering helps to preserve existing relations of racial, patriarchal and class domination in the face of climate-induced social upheavals. Othering, we conclude, is not only a feature of fossil fuelled development, but a way of functioning of capitalist governmentality more broadly—which has important implications for thinking about emancipatory and climate-just transformations.
... In other words, that if the people were poor is because they have not been proactive to find these new opportunities and adequately benefit from them. As responsibilisation is a core element of the neoliberal subject underpinning the entrepreneurial programmes of the state (Andreucci & Kallis, 2017;Chandler, 2014;Meltzer, 2013;Sanyal, 2007;Summerville et al., 2008;Watts, 2003), it is not a coincidence that the women with better incorporation to these programmes have incorporated in their narratives the notion that links poverty with laziness. For instance, when Isabel talks about improved access to education in her community, she spontaneously adds: "So, the mother that does not work is because she is lazy because she is without her children all jobs. ...
Conference Paper
The thesis explores the process of neoliberal subjectivation in rural development in Chiloé, Chile, focusing mainly on the experience of local women. In general, the literature that critically explores rural development in southern Chile centres on the impact that extractivism and economic globalisation have on the environment and local livelihoods. Although these studies address essential issues such as rural-urban migration, the proletarianisation of farmers, and gender and cultural transformations, there is little analysis on the role that development has in shaping the behaviour and subjectivities of the rural population. The thesis aims to fill this gap by focusing on how the national and local state’s development practices and discourses shape people’s understanding of their own lives and their relationships with others. Empirically, the research focuses on a range of relevant governmental programmes during the salmon industry crisis and in the immediate aftermath. It draws on qualitative and quantitative data from diverse primary and secondary sources. Primary data includes interviews with local civil servants, programme implementers and civil society representatives, a socioeconomic household survey and in-depth interviews with local women. The thesis argues that there is no straightforward correspondence between what development intends to do and what occurs in practice. Although the efforts to create responsible, rational economic individuals shape the relation of the Chilean state with the rural poor, parallel state interventions and discourses do not necessarily point towards the same ideal. Building on these contradictions and their culture and knowledge, poor rural women in Central Chiloé find ways to deviate from neoliberal ideals and express subtle yet relevant critiques to the development approach of the Chilean state in rural territories.
... This is not to say that the political ecology of environmental conflict has not dealt with underlying thought structures, which is witnessed, for example, in the work on environmental conflicts as "ontological" (Blaser, 2013) 6. A similarly Foucauldian/poststructuralist perspective on the relations between power, violence, and subjectivity in the context of environmental conflict has recently also been suggested applied to the field of environmental economics (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017). 7. Given the centrality of Foucault's concepts to broad streams of social theory, it goes without saying that these critical views are questioned and disputed as well (see, e.g., Heller, 1996). ...
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This article examines conflicting conceptualizations of the human subject in political ecology and geography: Foucauldian views of "subject-making" and Gramscian views of "the person". While Foucauldian work holds that the more complete exertion of power, the more coherent subject-making, Gramscian historical-geographical perspectives counter that, the more complete exertion of power, the more incoherent persons and their class-based collectivities. Outlining incongruities between these approaches, I argue that the "dark side" of Gramscian political ecology-with its emphasis on incoherence and fracture-allows geographers new nuance in understanding the human subject, although not without challenges to the actual writing of such scholarship.
... Governmentality analysis of extractive capitalism often points out how governmental practices have normalized extraction projects by prioritizing maximum economic gain over the lives and livelihoods of local populations that stand in the way of resource-based development such as in Peru (Andreucci and Kallis, 2017), or through the workings of corporate practices aimed to moderate the behavior of local communities against extractive corporations and achieve the "social license to operate" (Szablowski, 2019;Buu-Sao, 2020). Nevertheless, the power relationships in which the "conduct of the conduct" is exercised typically offer multiple points of contact through which processes can be negotiated, consented, or rejected (Allen, 2003;Allen, 2004), with unpredictable and ambiguous outcomes that simultaneously resist and confirm exclusionary and subordinating norms (Ahlborg and Nightingale, 2018). ...
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peruvian government failed to protect its sparsely populated Amazon region. While infections were still rising, resource extraction was quickly approved to continue operations as a declared essential service that permitted an influx of workers into vulnerable indigenous territories despite weak or almost absent local healthcare. This article analyzes territorial counteraction as an indigenous response to pandemic national state failure, highlighted in a case of particularly conflictive stakes of resource control: Peru’s largest liquid natural gas extraction site Camisea in the Upper Amazon, home to several indigenous groups in the Lower Urubamba who engaged in collective action to create their own district. Frustration with the state’s handling of the crisis prompted indigenous counteraction to take COVID-19 measures and territorial control into their own hands. By blocking boat traffic on their main river, they effectively cut off their remote and roadless Amazon district off from the outside world. Local indigenous control had already been on the rise after the region had successfully fought for its own formal subnational administrative jurisdiction in 2016, named Megantoni district. The pandemic then created a moment of full indigenous territorial control that openly declared itself as a response and replacement of a failed national state. Drawing on political ecology, we analyze this as an interesting catalyst moment that elevated long-standing critiques of inequalities, and state neglect into new negotiations of territory and power between the state and indigenous self-determination, with potentially far-reaching implications on state-indigenous power dynamics and territorial control, beyond the pandemic.
... Suddenly, seemingly benign developmentalism becomes implicated in extractivism and its apparatus of criminalization. Andreucci and Kallis (2017) challenge scholars to "to explain how the tension between resource-based development and the violence that sustains it is recomposed through a discursive 'othering', targeting those who oppose extraction" (p. 95). ...
... Suddenly, seemingly benign developmentalism becomes implicated in extractivism and its apparatus of criminalization. Andreucci and Kallis (2017) challenge scholars to "to explain how the tension between resource-based development and the violence that sustains it is recomposed through a discursive 'othering', targeting those who oppose extraction" (p. 95). ...
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This study explores the impact of political parties on state capture in Latin America. A mixed effects model is used with time as the level one unit nested within countries that serve as the level 2 units with a total sample size of 349 observations pooled across 19 different Latin American countries with data ranging between the years 1996-2017. The model is also estimated with an AR(1) term in order to account for the temporal dimension of the analysis and any problems autocorrelation may pose. First, the impact of political party in power [years], a variable that captures how long one political party is able to stay in power in a given country in years-is analyzed for its effects on state capture. Second, the impact of political party in power [years] on state capture at varying levels of economic development as measured by GDPPC is then examined. The analysis provides support for the negative impacts of political party in power [years] on state capture where the longer one party is able to remain in power-the greater state capture we will see. Overall, the results suggest that a lack of political competition and horizontal accountability that political parties are able to provide in a given country results in enhanced levels of corruption and state capture across the Latin American region.
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The unprecedented mining boom of the 1990s in Latin America may or may have not contributed to socioeconomic development in the region, but it has certainly been accompanied by increased socio-environmental conflicts. Economists and sociologists have developed taxonomies for such conflicts and have attempted to explain them based on theories of resource mobilization, rational options, social cohesion, and identity construction applied to settings of generally extreme poverty. This study developed and tested psychological hypotheses based on personal values, attribution theory, reputational concern of the firm, intergroup threat theory, and UV radiation theory entailing mining managers’ reactions to socio-environmental conflicts in Peru and effects of latitude and altitude. Forty-three Corporate Social Responsibility managers of the 49 mining corporations registered in the Society of Mining, Petroleum, and Energy of Peru filled-in a 20-minute questionnaire in the presence of one of the investigators at company offices (December 2017). 100 % of respondents were male, most of them middle-aged. A 3-factor structure of political, economic, and ecological concerns sustained the attributions of cause whereas mine’s surrounding populations were perceived as moral, incompetent, and positive; in balance, these perceptions represent favorable conditions for conflict resolution. However, contrary to expectations, firm’s experience of socio-environmental conflicts was not associated with these outcomes. Rather, geography emerged as a moderator of the relationship between the level of socio-environmental conflict experienced and managers’ perceptions of the surrounding populations. These results suggest that mining managers more affected by socio-environmental conflict strengthened racial stereotypes in response to the external challenge.
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The aim of this text is to make sense of the emerging political-institutional, territorial, and socio-ecological dynamics and contradictions of neo-extractivism in Latin America in the context of global capitalist development. In contrast to some existing literature, we argue that the term 'neo-extractivism' should not be restricted to countries with progressive governments but be applied to all Latin American societies that, since the 1.97os and especially since the year 2000, depend predominantly on the exploitation and exportation of nature. We argue that the often vague usage of the term neo-extractivism can be strengthened when it is seen in line with dominant development models. Therefore, we refer to regulation theory and its historical heuristic of different phases of capitalist development. This enables us to look at the temporal-spatial interdependencies between shifting socio-economic and technological developments, world market structures, and political-institutional configurations that characterize neo-extractivism across scales and beyond national borders.
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One of the causes of the increasing number of ecological distribution conflicts around the world is the changing metabolism of the economy in terms of growing flows of energy and materials. There are conflicts on resource extraction, transport and waste disposal. Therefore, there are many local complaints, as shown in the Atlas of Environmental Justice (EJatlas) and other inventories. And not only complaints; there are also many successful examples of stopping projects and developing alternatives, testifying to the existence of a rural and urban global movement for environmental justice. Moreover, since the 1980s and 1990s, this movement has developed a set of concepts and campaign slogans to describe and intervene in such conflicts. They include environmental racism, popular epidemiology, the environmentalism of the poor and the indigenous, biopiracy, tree plantations are not forests, the ecological debt, climate justice, food sovereignty, land grabbing and water justice, among other concepts. These terms were born from socio-environmental activism, but sometimes they have also been taken up by academic political ecologists and ecological economists who, for their part, have contributed other concepts to the global environmental justice movement, such as ‘ecologically unequal exchange’ or the ‘ecological footprint’.
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The natural resource conflict dimension of environmental governance is usually centred on the social and political aspects of production systems and has hardly addressed the biophysical features of the natural resources themselves. Here we aim to address renewable and non-renewable resource-extraction conflicts in Latin America in the context of a changing global social metabolism and increasing demands for environmental justice (M’Gonigle, 1999; Sneddon, Howarth and Norgaard, 2006; Gerber, Veuthey and Martínez-Alier, 2009; Martinez-Alier et al., 2010). "Social metabolism" refers to the manner in which human societies organize their growing exchanges of energy and materials with the environment (Fischer-Kowalski, 1997; Martinez-Alier, 2009). In this chapter we use a sociometabolic approach to examine the material flows (extraction, exports, imports) of Latin American economies and furthermore look into the socioenvironmental pressures and conflicts that they cause. Sociometabolic trends can be appraised using different and complementary indicators. For instance, the Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production (HANPP) measures to what extent human activities appropriate the biomass available each year for ecosystems (Haberl et al., 2007). Other examples are indicators that study virtual water flows, the energy return on investment (EROI) or a product life cycle. © Fábio de Castro, Barbara Hogenboom and Michiel Baud 2016, Respective authors 2016 and Eduardo Silva 2016.
Why and how do alternative economies emerge, how do they develop and what is their contribution, if any, to transformative politics? Alternative economies proliferate in the countries worse hit by economic crisis and austerity, such as Spain or Greece. Yet the existing literature is stuck in a counter-productive division between celebration and critique. We move beyond this division applying philosopher Daniel Bensaïd's understanding of politics to two alternative food economies, one in the Basque Country and one in Greece. We illuminate the activist strategies and specific conjunctures within which the two alternatives emerged and explain how they develop in the face of political-economic barriers. Alternative economies, we conclude, can be transformational when they are inserted in activist strategies directed to extend conflict, social struggles and challenge the capital-state nexus.
This academic review of more than 200 articles, books and reports sheds light to why and how do communities resist mining and how do their forms of resistance change over time. The literature reveals that local communities react not only to perceived environmental impacts but also to their lack of representation and participation in decisions concerning their development path, lack of monetary compensation and distrust with the mining company and the state. Several authors explore the objectives and discourses of these movements that range from compensation and market embedded demands to the articulation of post-material values and the emergence of socio-ecological alternatives. Cross-scalar alliances have emerged as a crucial factor in the formation of discourses and strategies; local narratives and alternatives are being combined with global discourses on rights (to clean water, to take decisions, indigenous rights) and environmental justice. Cross scalar alliances have also allowed local groups to increase their knowledge about the projects, give them visibility, and comprehend and act against their weak position in the global commodity chain. These alliances have also contributed to the emergence or consolidation of a diverse set of resistance strategies such as legal court cases, activist-scientist collaborations and local referendums or "consultas" at community level to reject mining projects. This review also explores the response of the state and the mining companies to these conflicts, exploring responses such as regulatory changes or Corporate Social Responsibility programs.
This book has emerged from a specific historical constellation. It addresses some crucial social and political events we have witnessed since the turn of the century. In the past ten years, intellectuals inside and outside the United States have used the notion of biopolitics to reflect on issues as heterogeneous as the war on terror after 9/11, the rise of neoliberalism, and biomedical and biotechnological innovations such as stem cell research, and the human genome project. In these debates, the concept of biopolitics has often served as an interpretive key to analyze how the production and protection of life is articulated with the proliferation of death; or it seeks to grasp how the reduction of human beings to "bare life" (e.g., in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib) is linked to strategies to optimize and enhance human capabilities and life expectancy.
Why is the World Bank so successful? How has it gained power even at moments in history when it seemed likely to fall? This pathbreaking book is the first close examination of the inner workings of the Bank, the foundations of its achievements, its propensity for intensifying the problems it intends to cure, and its remarkable ability to tame criticism and extend its own reach. Michael Goldman takes us inside World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., and then to Bank project sites around the globe. He explains how projects funded by the Bank really work and why community activists struggle against the World Bank and its brand of development. Goldman looks at recent ventures in areas such as the environment, human rights, and good governance and reveals how-despite its poor track record-the World Bank has acquired greater authority and global power than ever before. The book sheds new light on the World Bank's role in increasing global inequalities and considers why it has become the central target for anti-globalization movements worldwide. For anyone concerned about globalization and social justice, Imperial Nature is essential reading.