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Title: Amongst the shadows of mineralized mountains : resource-making and social becoming in the Peruvian Andes
Author: Gilfoy, Kieran Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 1850
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Since the 1990s, the adoption of the extractive imperative in Peru, while leading to unprecedented economic growth, has simultaneously entailed the proliferation of local contestation at the point source of mineral exploitation. To date, academic attention on ‘conflictos mineros’ (mining conflicts) has been dominated by interpretations of political economy which shroud local realities amongst the implicit assumptions of ‘isolation’ and ‘alterity’. Ethnographic interventions on contemporary mining in Peru have lagged behind the explanatory rush. This dissertation, based on 15 months of fieldwork in the communities which surround the Bambas copper mine, attempts to shift and destabilize scholastic presumption. Grounding its theoretical trajectory in progressive imaginaries of social mobility (the ‘search for a better life’), the thesis attempts to dissolve the dominant prisms of ‘peasant’ and ‘indigenous’ communities to elucidate the complex and, at times, contradictory outcomes of mining as practiced in southern Peru. Resource-making, it is argued, interjects upon fraught histories of marginalization, activating latent desires for social becoming. Over time, however, the maturation of mining, from exploration to eventual low-labor production, unfurls stark discordances between development’s image and reality. Communities and individuals are forced to navigate this shifting social terrain, interpreting millennial moral orders, developing alternative projects for the ‘better life’, and, ultimately, ‘waiting’ for imagined futures that are increasingly threatened by precarity. These crises in social becoming produce unintended outcomes, even amongst the ‘responsible’ precepts of ‘modern mining’. Accordingly, CSR works to govern expectation and corporate entanglements with shadowed communities. Environmental regulation creates complex and insecure relations between toxic legacies and endurance. While indigenous legal precepts transform through the friction of travel and contact to eventually assemble artisanal mining ventures. The overarching empirics move with and beyond conventional conceptions of Andean peoples and corporate interventions to demonstrate festering frustrations with development trajectories and continuous maneuvering within them.
Supervisor: Rival, Laura Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available