Citizens, criminalization and violence in natural resource conflicts in Latin America

Elisabet Dueholm Rasch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In Latin America grassroots organizing against megaprojects such as open pit mining, oil extraction, hydro dams and large plantations goes hand in hand with increased criminalization of social protest and violations of the human rights of activists. This results in numerous communities demanding a clean environment, participation, and justice - all at the same time. They not only face foreign companies, but are also caught in the middle of armed and non-armed actors that contest the same territory and its natural resources. Their resistance is considered as a threat to internal security; citizens are increasingly viewed as criminals. This paper suggests new avenues for research that is located at the nexus of local resistance towards megaprojects and the increase of human rights violations and criminalization in natural resource conflicts. It proposes, first, to approach natural resource conflicts as hybrid spaces where citizenship is constructed in relation to multiple actors that engage in processes of providing, protecting and violating citizenship rights, and second, to study such processes by way of slow ethnography. Such an approach to natural resource conflicts paves the way not only for understanding how citizens engage in acts of resistance and experience violations of human rights, but also how such processes shape new subject-positions. Keywords: Latin America, extraction, citizenship, human rights, violence, engaged ethnography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-142
JournalEuropean Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies = Revista Europea de estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe
Issue number103
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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