Transformations in citizenship : local resistance against mining projects in Huehuetenango (Guatemala)

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In this article, I analyze how Guatemalan indigenous citizens claim their rights to be citizens and agents of their own development through local resistance to large-scale mining projects. These indigenous communities face massive resource extraction by multinational mining companies that endangers the quality of land and water, adversely affects community relations, and impedes indigenous self-determination. At the same time, the political recognition of indigenous peoples allows them to negotiate the regulation of natural resources on the basis of their ethnic identity, as neoliberal reforms have led to decentralization and greater responsibilities for development at the municipal level. I argue that narratives of “alternative development and citizenship” are not only shaped within the multi-scalar character of the anti-mining movement but also constructed within the different ways the resistance is framed, that is, as an indigenous struggle, as a class-based resistance, or as resistance against neoliberal development policies in general. To understand the complex ways that citizenship is constructed from below, we need to take these two dimensions of analysis into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-184
JournalJournal of Developing Societies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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