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Title: Territorial transformation in El Pangui, Ecuador
Author: Warnaars, Ximena
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This research is about territory, mining conflicts and social movements in South East Ecuador. The Andean country with no large scale mining history is experiencing a recent expansion of large scale mining with growing levels of social conflict. Social movements have been questioning and contesting the forms being taken by the extractive economy as well as proposing an alternative pathway to development through the indigenous concept of sumak kawsay. The Socialist Government is pushing the nation’s extractive model forward to include large scale mining, motivated by the much needed revenues to diversify Ecuador’s oil based economy. El Pangui, my field site, is located on the foothills of the Cordillera del Cóndor, where a large copper deposit is proposed to be developed by a Chinese mining corporation. The Cordillera is an area of great biological diversity and home to the traditional territories of the Shuar, one of the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Ecuador. The years of colonization of ancestral lands and of border war with Peru, the establishment of parks-for-peace, small scale gold mining activity and an expanding agricultural frontier, together have formed a complex territorial mosaic that contribute in shaping the social and physical landscapes. Since 2005 a mining conflict has been unfolding and that can be considered yet another layer of territorial disputes and symbolic contestation in the regions´ history. My fieldwork was carried out from an engaged research and activist scholarship position. I used an ethnographic methodology to explore the bidirectional influences of territorial dynamics and the anti-mining struggle by looking at multi scalar impacts these have on people’s daily life, corporate social responsibility and environmental development debates. I also looked at the ways in which memories and meanings associated with past conflicts resonate in subsequent resource struggles to form a layering of conflicts. I was particularly interested in the less visible dimensions of environmental mobilisation embedded in the routines of daily life, as well as in the ways in which the memory and history of territorialisation and settlement influence social movement organizing. Theoretically, I propose a territorial approach to studying natural resource struggles and social movements that contest mining. This concept allowed me to examine the effects of the extractive projects on pre-existing territorial dynamics and the influence of these dynamics on the ways in which mining investments are contested.
Supervisor: Harvey, Penelope; Bebbington, Anthony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecuador ; territoriality ; mining conflicts ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; social movement ; Shuar ; Amazon