Resisting Extractivism
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Peru is classified as one of the deadliest countries in the world for environmental defenders, where activists face many forms of violence. Through an ethnographic and systematic comparison of four gold-mining conflicts in Peru, Resisting Extractivism presents a vivid account of subtle and routine forms of violence, analyzing how meaning-making practices render certain types of damage and suffering noticeable while occluding others. The book thus builds a theory of violence from the ground up—how it is framed, how it impacts people’s lived experiences, and how it can be confronted. By excavating how the everyday interactions that underlie conflicts are discursively concealed and highlighted, this study assists in the prevention and transformation of violence over resource extraction in Latin America.

The book draws on a controlled, qualitative comparison of four case studies, extensive ethnographic research conducted over fourteen months of fieldwork, analysis of over nine hundred archives and documents, and unprecedented access to more than 250 semi-structured interviews with key actors across industry, the state, civil society, and the media. Michael Wilson Becerril identifies, traces, and compares these dynamics to explain how similar cases can lead to contrasting outcomes—insights that may be usefully applied in other contexts to save lives and build better futures.
List of Figures and Tables
Introduction: Enacting Violence
Chapter 1: Between Violence and Not-Violence in Resource Extraction
Chapter 2: Everyday Life, Mining, and Conflict in Peru
Chapter 3: Tambo Grande: The Importance of Scaling Up
Chapter 4: La Zanja: When and How Coercion Works
Chapter 5: Lagunas Norte: What Does "Corporate Social Responsibility" Do?
Chapter 6: Cerro Corona: Dialogue and Depoliticization
Conclusion: Extractive Effects, Violence, and the Role of Outsiders
Appendix 1: Theoretical Underpinnings
Appendix 2: Notes on Methodology and Methods



Publié par
Date de parution 15 février 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826501714
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Resisting Extractivism
Resisting Extractivism
Peruvian Gold, Everyday Violence, and the Politics of Attention
Copyright 2021 Vanderbilt University Press
All rights reserved
First printing 2021
Material from: Michael S. Wilson Becerril, “Frames in Conflict: Discursive Contestation and the Transformation of Resistance,” in Civil Resistance and Violent Conflict in Latin America , edited by C. Mouly and E. Hernández Delgado, published 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan, Cham., reproduced with permission of SNCSC.
Material from Chapter 3 is derived in part from an article published in Peace Review on February 16, 2016, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online: , DOI 10.1080/10402659.2016.1130372.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Wilson Becerril, Michael, 1988– author.
Title: Resisting extractivism : Peruvian gold, everyday violence, and the politics of attention / Michael Wilson Becerril.
Description: Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, [2021] | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2020039778 (print) | LCCN 2020039779 (ebook) | ISBN 9780826501578 (paperback) | ISBN 9780826501585 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780826501714 (epub) | ISBN 9780826501721 (pdf)
Subjects: LCSH: Gold mines and mining—Environmental aspects—Peru. | Gold mines and mining—Moral and ethical aspects—Peru. | Violence—Environmental aspects—Peru. | Environmentalism—Political aspects—Peru. | Environmental justice—Peru. | Social responsibility of business—Peru.
Classification: LCC HD9536.P42 B43 2021 (print) | LCC HD9536.P42 (ebook) | DDC 338.2/7410985—dc23
LC record available at
LC ebook record available at
“ ¡No jueguen con el agua! ” (Don’t play with the water!) seemed to be my grandmother’s favorite phrase. As children, my cousins and I would collect water in buckets and chase each other around her backyard, aiming for each other but splashing most of the water on the grass and concrete. As a kid, I never fully understood her problem with our games. I used to think she did not want us to catch a cold and get sick, given that her second favorite admonition was “Put on a sweater!” As I have grown, I have come to understand her message differently: water is not to be wasted.
My grandfather worked up to become head mechanic in a cement mine and factory, which had been established originally as a British company in the 1880s but taken over by its workers (including my great-grandfather) and turned into a cooperative in 1931. Above all, however, my grandparents were farmers—tied to their small plot of land by economics, culture, and no doubt, politics. Dark-skinned, rural, and humble, their place in the country’s postcolonial social hierarchy meant they lacked access to formal education (Mexico did not institute public instruction until they were married adults), but they were infinitely wise, colossally funny, and deeply in touch with their land. My mother, their only daughter out of five children, and my father, a half-Mexican immigrant from the US, were hard-working artists and entrepreneurs who spent much of their time in downtown Mexico City, so raising my sister and me fell largely to my grandparents.
This book is dedicated to their memory. For José Jesús Becerril Benítez, a diligent, quiet, and pensive farmer who taught me to whistle with birds, care for plants, watch the rain, and appreciate the little things that are tragically taken for granted. And for Josefina García Cuellar, a matriarch, soccer aficionada, and tireless raconteur who sat on a wheelchair from as early as I can remember until she passed away in 2006 but was never anything remotely close to meek, and who showed me the power of laughter.
Figures and Tables
INTRODUCTION. Enacting Violence
1. Between Violence and Not-Violence in Resource Extraction
2. Everyday Life, Mining, and Conflict in Peru
3. Tambo Grande: The Importance of Scaling Up
4. La Zanja: When and How Coercion Works
5. Lagunas Norte: What Does “Corporate Social Responsibility” Do?
6. Cerro Corona: Dialogue and Depoliticization
CONCLUSION. Extractive Effects, Violence, and the Role of Outsiders
Appendix 1. Theoretical Underpinnings
Appendix 2. Notes on Methodology and Methods
Figures and Tables
TABLE 1. Issues and Gaps in the Literature about Peruvian Mining Conflicts
TABLE 2. Theorizing Explanations for Violent Actions and Case Outcomes
TABLE 3. Expanded Typology of Company Strategies
TABLE 4. Intensity of Corporate Gold Mining Projects in Peru, 2000–2015
TABLE 5. Peru’s Political Units Visited for this Field Research, 2014–2016
FIGURE 1. Photograph of contested graffiti on the walls of Cajamarca city, 2016
FIGURE 2. Photograph of Tambogrande, 2015
FIGURE 3. Poster against mining exploration in Tambogrande
FIGURE 4. Photograph of a school and street in downtown Pulán, 2016
FIGURE 5. Photograph of the Los Ángeles lake and Lagunas Norte mine, 2015
FIGURE 6. Alto Chicama Water Quality, 2008 and 2009, by Medina Tafur et al. 2010
FIGURE 7. Map of Cajamarca, Santa Cruz, and Bambamarca cities
FIGURE 8. Photograph of the Hualgayoc municipal stadium, 2016
FIGURE 9. Photograph of Gold Fields’ Cerro Corona mine, 2016
FIGURE 10. Photograph of protests against extractivism in Lima, October 2015
FIGURE 11. Maps of the four mining project sites in northern Peru
If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. . . . You cannot point out one thing that is not here—time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper.
THÍCH NHÂT HANH, The Heart of Understanding , 1988
In any study that relies on extensive fieldwork, the list of people who deserve credit far exceeds the space allotted to dedicatory sections. As the epigraph to this section illustrates, I have everything for which to be thankful. Preparing for, conducting, and writing this research is to the credit of many people who have my eternal gratitude.
This work would not be possible were it not for all the people in Peru who—in parks and restaurants, in their offices and homes, at events and in our various expeditions, and far more—shared a moment with me to discuss their views and experiences. Many people, including those who did not officially participate in this research, generously invited me into their lives and to their proceedings; cared for me when I was sick; ran back to my hostel, after meeting me, to gift me books or show me fascinating media; stayed up late talking with me about politics and society; facilitated my conversations with others; offered me mementos, kind words, and useful advice or materials before we parted ways; and otherwise transformed difficult logistics into unforgettable memories, enduring relationships, and, I hope, useful research. I thank Alicia Abanto, Stéphanie Rousseau, Liliana Alzamora, Mirtha Vásquez, Teresa Santillán, Liz Puma, Gerardo Damonte, Nelson Peñaherrera, Luis Riofrío, Lenin Bazán, César Medina Tafur, Luis Villafranca, Nilton Deza, Maritza Paredes, Charito Reyes, Eduardo Dargent, Paula Muñoz, José Carlos Orihuela, Ximena Waarnars, Vladimir Gil, Silvana Baldovino, Nadia Gamboa, Guillermo Salas, José de Echave, Ronald Ordóñez, Raúl Benavides, Javier Torres, Shreema Mehta, Andrew Miller, Martín Estévez, and my good friend Jefree Roldán, among many others. In addition to the people who participated in this study in any small or major way, this book is inspired by and dedicated to all who have struggled for justice and a better future. The world and I owe them incalculably.
Secondly, I was lucky to know and have the support of many mentors. Kent Eaton was, from our earliest conversations, a constant source of light able to guide me out of intellectual uncertainty. Kent unswervingly found potential in my work and opened many doors for me to think about and carry out this research. I also owe infinite thanks to Mark Fathi Massoud, an exemplary instructor and writer without whose encouragement, support, and friendship I would not have survived graduate school; to Eleonora Pasotti, who consistently provided the perfect balance of razor-sharp criticism and enlivening reassurance that every apprentice craves; and to Jeffrey Bury, whose field expertise, contacts, and advice were essential to this research. These four people were kinder, more caring, sharper, and wiser mentors and role models than I could have imagined. They always surpassed my hopes and needs as their student. I am immeasurably grateful for their generosity, grace, inspiration, and empowerment. Despite being always busy, they read and improved countless poorly written drafts, wrote letters on my behalf even when I requested an excessive number, and vastly improved who I am personally and professionally.
Likewise, I am grateful for the mentorship of Nancy Ries, Megan Thomas, Sylvanna Falcón, Hiroshi Fukurai, Ben Read, Ronnie Lipschutz, Cecilia Rivas, Ana María Seara, Xan Karn, Andrew Rotter, and many other faculty and staff at UCSC and Colgate University, a

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