Toxic mobilization: mining, pollution and power in the highlands of Peru

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Resumen

This paper analyzes how the toxic consequences of extractive industries like mining have reconfigured both local topographies and introduced new structures and meanings regarding environmental justice and mobilization for communities living in polluted areas. Based on a longitudinal ethnographic study of the case of Espinar in Peru, the paper explains how the company and the government’s management of uncertainty regarding land and water pollution have transformed the meaning of mobilization for communities and their capacities for cleaning or at least improving their environment. I argue that local and global connections and transnational support still open opportunities for meaningful local mobilization despite uncertainty and ambiguity in managing environmental pollution, which weakens social cohesion and fragments the positions of inhabitants concerning collective and political action. However, communities can unwillingly embrace toxic conflicts: low intense, fragmented, but persistent forms of mobilization to bargain for some form of partial compensation from the company and the state. This form of conflict reinforces the internal fragmentation of the overall community and runs against environmental justice aspirations.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)136-147
Número de páginas12
PublicaciónEnvironmental Sociology
Volumen9
N.º2
DOI
EstadoPublicada - 2023

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