Murat Arsel's research while affiliated with Erasmus University Rotterdam and other places

Publications (37)

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The challenge posed by Covid-19 for indigenous people of the Amazon is formidable. Remoteness and institutional racism compound the obstacles faced by the general population of Latin America. However, it would be wrong to assume indigenous communities are helpless. They have an extensive repertoire of strategies to respond to external threats that...
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Since the early 2000s, there has been an ‘extractive imperative’ in Latin America that made intensified extraction the policy solution to all socioeconomic challenges. More recently, a similar consensus has emerged in a diversity of political, economic and geographical contexts - such as Turkey, India and the United States - that makes it possible...
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We are amidst what can be termed an ongoing authoritarian turn in global politics. While Trump, one of its important examples, is no longer in office in the United States, there remain many countries under the sway of authoritarian leaders, such as Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Hungary and the Philippines. The policies of Trump, Sisi, Bolsonaro, Orban and...
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To limit the probable increase in global mean temperature to 2 °C, about 80%, 50% and 30% of existing coal, gas and oil reserves, respectively, would need to remain under the soil. While the concept of ‘unburnable fuels’ has become prominent, there has been little discussion on institutional mechanisms to identify specific fossil fuel reserves to b...
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The Texaco/Chevron lawsuit, which started in November 1993 and is still being litigated in 2020, is a prominent example of the process of judicialization of environmental conflict. The Ecuadorian plaintiffs claim that the oil company’s operations generated ruinous impacts on the environment and on the development prospects and health of nearby indi...
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This paper reports on an ongoing initiative that seeks to enhance the detection, monitoring, and reporting capabilities of local communities in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon through the introduction of hardware and digital tools, as a strategy to strengthen their ability to produce socio-environmental evidence. A Community Based Monitoring (CBM) s...
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Why do some residents of the Ecuadorian Amazon support the expansion of oil extraction in their communities even when they believe that the impact of extractive industries on their communities and families has been negative, environmentally as well as economically? Building on nearly a decade of participatory research in the region, this chapter co...
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This exploration piece challenges the dominant reading of oil-related social conflicts through an environmental prism. Through a methodological intervention that classifies conflicts as ‘brown’ (concerning primarily the distribution and investment of economic rents) or ‘green’ (demanding ecological remediation, improved extraction practices, or ces...
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While state-society relations in Turkey have historically been top-down and coups d’état periodically interrupted democratic politics, the recent authoritarian turn under Erdoğan is remarkable. Two dynamics are especially salient. First, Erdoğan and his AKP have been particularly effective in deepening the neoliberalisation of economy and society....
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We chronicle a four-decades-long struggle that has been taking place in the Peruvian Amazon between indigenous groups, oil companies, and the state. We provide a broad overview of the strategies of the communities in the area, juxtaposing the outcomes of different negotiating strategies. In addition to documenting what is an especially important ca...
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This paper introduces the special issue on the ‘Extractive Imperative in Latin America’. It highlights the rise in conflicts over the intensification and deepening of extractive activities in the region, especially countries associated with the Left Turn. Given the nature of the extractive imperative, which results in an approach to development whe...
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L’examen de la politique climatique de la Turquie revele une situation paradoxale. On observe d’un cote un appareil d’Etat – de tradition bien ancree, avec une legislation elaboree et fortement institutionnalisee – activement engage dans la participation aux efforts internationaux pour traiter le probleme climatique. D’un autre cote, ce meme appare...
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This article acts as the Introduction to the Debate that follows. It contends that the so-called impasse in development has been a constant feature of the field and is an indicator of its self-critical outlook rather than any deep-seated existential crisis. It unpacks the various dimensions of ongoing debate regarding the future of development stud...
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This paper introduces the concept of the ‘environmentalism of the malcontent’ to characterise a type of environmental activism that is increasingly common in Turkey. It illustrates its argument by analysing the resistance movement against the proposed Gerze coal power plant. By so doing, it problematises the relationship between class and environme...
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In this commentary we critically discuss the suitability of payments for ecosystem services and the most important challenges they face. While such instruments can play a role in improving environmental governance, we argue that over-reliance on payments as win-win solutions might lead to ineffective outcomes, similar to earlier experience with int...
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Rapid economic growth involves significant changes in land use patterns. The paper uses the recent history of Chinese economic growth to highlight and interrogate the implication of such changes within the context of structural transformation. It argues that though land use change is an important underlying dimension of the massive structural trans...
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Against the backdrop of economic development's increasing burden on the environment, the chapter argues that the state in Turkey is in many cases not fulfilling its duties towards the environment. This seems rather paradoxical given that Turkey seemingly has all the ingredients associated with the successful development and implementation of enviro...
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Development politics in Ecuador has experienced major changes since the start of Correa’s presidency in 2007. Paralleling a regional trend, the state has become a central agent in the economy, particularly in extractive industries. Revenues accruing to the state from intensified usage of non-renewable resources have been central to the implementati...
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Ecuador is a prominent example of a Latin American country that has elected a left‐wing president who aims to create a post‐neoliberal development strategy. Many of the policies pursued by President Rafael Correa have focused on changing the relationship between nature and society. The new constitution of 2008, which grants rights to nature, adapts...
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ABSTRACT Nature™ Inc. describes the increasingly dominant way of thinking about environmental policy and biodiversity conservation in the early twenty‐first century. Nature is, and of course has long been, ‘big business’, especially through the dynamics of extracting from, polluting and conserving it. As each of these dynamics seems to have become...
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MW: This question of how the financial crisis unleashes new strains, fissures and tensions across the global south — and Nigeria in particular — is, I think, very complicated. This complexity resides in part in the differential structures of national economies and their different exposures to, and dependencies upon, key Euro-American banking instit...
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RESUMEN Desde un punto de vista crítico, este artículo analiza los debates relativos a la sostenibilidad del desarrollo chino. Concretamente, aborda el doble argumento de que el desarrollo en China no es sostenible y de que representa una amenaza directa a la seguridad medioambiental del resto del mundo. Con ello, el estudio argumenta que la apelac...
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[European Union] EU environment policy aims to promote sustainable development and to protect the environment for present and future generations. It is based on preventive action, the polluter pays principle, fighting environmental damage at source, shared responsibility and the integration of environmental protection into other EU policies. The ac...

Citations

... The world has experienced a dramatic resurgence in the scale and pace of natural resource extraction since the mid-2000s (Dunlap and Jakobsen 2020;Kröger 2021). Commodity booms, associated with hydrocarbon and mineral extraction, and agricultural and biofuel plantations, have led to increased conflicts and human rights violations, including intrusions into indigenous territories, degradation of rural and urban dwellers' lived environments, loss of biodiversity, environmental pollution, and increased greenhouse gas emissions (Arboleda 2019;Arsel, Adaman, and Saad-Filho 2021;Gills 2020;Verweijen and Dunlap 2021). Extractive industries have long wielded the political-economic power to exploit 'cheap' material from resource frontiers, often with scant attention paid to the adverse effects on local ecosystems and people. ...
... While mechanisms to untangle this situation are already being discussed (Asheim et al., 2019;e.g. Newell and Simms, 2020;Pellegrini et al., 2021;van Asselt, 2014;West, 2020), they have not seen a breakthrough at the international policy level. ...
... I locate the strength and persistence of economic growth in Turkey within the making of state hegemony (see Akbulut, 2011, for a more detailed discussion; a similar argument has been made in Adaman, 2013 andAkbulut et al., 2018). In particular, I argue that the urgency to achieve economic development was constituted as the collective interest of the society, through which the Turkish state could gain legitimacy for its claim to rule. ...
... The same concerns wind power, which is a spatially extensive, land-based mode of energy generation (Dunlap 2020;Huber and McCarthy 2017). Nonetheless, the indirect effects of fossil-fuel energy productionthe networks of oil pipelines and the contamination of water sources critical for local livelihoodsrender control over land and water resources a key point of tension also in hydrocarbon extraction (Breglia 2013;Cepek 2018;Pellegrini et al. 2020;Sawyer 2017). The huge transformations provoked by different types of extractivism in access to and control over resources raise fundamental questions concerning to whom the 'natural resources' belong. ...
... Unfortunately, this often happens where populations are in an economical and political subordinate position [37]. Efforts have been done in the academic community to help indigenous populations discover illegal forest cutting [25,47] 1 and oil extraction activities [43,50] ...
... To better understand the AKP's rise to and consolidation of power and its economic performance and survival despite the ongoing economic and political slide, a tour of the country's political economy is 2 The AKP's appetite for nuclear power (the first nuclear plant is under construction at Akkuyu and planned to be operational by 2023) can also be seen as part of the mega project trend (for more on the AKP's appetite for and contestation over nuclear energy, see Akbulut et al., 2017). 3 The uprising in 2013 that started at Gezi Park and spread across the country is an exception, despite the fact that it did not translate into a strong political movement against the AKP. ...
... This pattern has taken a new form under the Ak Party with its peculiar "crony neoliberalism," appearing in the relationship between energy and construction as locomotives of Turkish carbon-intense economic growth by transforming rural and urban space. Unsurprisingly, the Ak Party-led neoliberal developmentalism has prompted its discontent among various fractions of civil society around the country (Adaman et al. 2017). Those civil discontents galvanized into uprisings around the Gezi Park in 2013 along with numerous sporadic smaller protests against coal mining, nuclear, and hydro in the rural areas seldom remaining purely issue-based calling for environmental justice (Knudsen 2015;Arsel et al. 2015;Erensü 2017;Adaman et al. 2019;Sayan and Kibaroğlu 2020). ...
... (3) The agricultural and extractive (hunting/fishing) frontier Heredia-R and Hernández, 2019;Houssou et al., 2019) has advanced due to unsustainable agricultural activities (Heredia-R et al., 2020a,b,c), caused by a dependence on salaried jobs in the oil sector, according to the literature on the Dutch disease (Bozigar et al., 2016;Arsel et al., 2019;Erdogan et al., 2020), correlated with the majority of the EAR population being impoverished (Lang, 2017;Torres et al., 2017a), due to its externalities (Vasco et al., 2015). In addition, inequality in terms of sustainability in the groups evaluated is evidenced by the existence of new forms of land use and management, a greater use of land for planting cocoa, African palm species, and pastureland for cattle. ...
... Former president Rafael Correa's exhortation that Ecuadorians should not be like 'beggars sitting on a sack of gold' and should exploit their natural resources to fuel the development process illustrates this sentiment (Dosh and Kligerman, 2009;Morley, 2017). Opposition movements, questioning extraction itself, or the way it takes place or the way rents are redistributed (Pellegrini and Arsel, 2018) have been met with ridicule and criminalisation with resistance to extractive projects often getting treated as a terrorist activity (Calapaqui, 2012;Dosh and Kligerman, 2009;Zibechi, 2011). ...
... Despite populism and strong public support, centrally planned large-scale development projects created budget deficit problems triggering external sourcing and privatization (Harris and Islar, 2014;Ignatov, 2005;Jongerden, 2010). External debt pressures have pushed Turkish governments to see large-scale growth narratives as a panacea for development without considering social and ecological dimensions (Adaman et al., 2019;Harris, 2005;Harris and Islar, 2014). However, notably intimate discourses that carefully considered sustainability components within white papers (Duffy, 2019;Turhan, Gündogan, 2017) have generally initiated centrally planned large-scale development projects (Jongerden, 2010;Harris, 2005). ...