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Reclaiming the lake

Citizenship and environment-as-common-property in highland Peru

Mattias Borg Rasmussen

. “Enough is enough!” The protests of the highland region Ancash that culminated in eight days of paro , or blockade, in December 2010 were directed against a proposed mining exploration in the headwaters of the Santa River, near the shores of a lake known

Open access

The Responsibility to Prevent Future Harm

Anti-Mining Struggles, the State, and Constitutional Lawsuits in Ecuador

Laura Affolter

Special Issue show that this shift certainly occurs. But so does its reverse, as ongoing legal struggles against industrial mining in Ecuador indicate. There, ‘anti-mining activists’ – a term I discuss in more detail below – have started to increasingly

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Soft skills, hard rocks

Making diamonds ethical in Canada’s Northwest Territories

Lindsay A. Bell

, both the museum and the mining corporation (Rio Tinto) stress that the Foxfire diamond should be admired for its “fascinating provenance and ethical pedigree” ( Amadena Investments 2017 ; Landers 2016 ). Foxfire’s ethical pedigree is linked not only to

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Engineering responsibility

Environmental mitigation and the limits of commensuration in a Chilean mining project

Fabiana Li

Focusing on a controversial gold mining project in Chile, this article examines how engineers and other mining professionals perceive and help shape Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Compensation agreements, environmental management, and community relations programs rest on what I call a logic of equivalence that makes the environmental consequences of mining activity commensurate with the mining companies’ mitigation plans. For example, legal codes enable engineers to measure, compare, and reconcile the costs and benefits of a project. However, the law is neither fixed nor uncontestable, and companies must respond to increased public scrutiny and the growing demands of communities, governments, and international actors. In Chile, campaigns against mining focused on the presence of glaciers at the mine site and the project’s possible effects on water availability. By introducing new moral dimensions to debates over corporate responsibility, these campaigns challenged established strategies of commensuration and existing ethical guideposts.

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Social cohesion beyond borders

Does management of mining resources promote social cohesion and regional integration? Lessons from Canada and Mexico

Angeles Mendoza Sammet

English abstract: This contribution analyzes whether the transboundary use of mineral resources by Canadian companies contributes to local and regional cohesion. The analysis is based on documental reviews, a field visit, and conversations with stakeholders of Canadian mining projects in Mexico. The results strongly suggest that, despite the bene fits that are advertised in the discourses of the Canadian and Mexican governments, this economic relationship is not fostering social cohesion as would be expected. Rather than helping dispossessed sectors of Mexican society satisfy their basic needs, the lack of social responsibility on the part of national governments and some transnational mining companies is generating numerous environmental and social impacts and is resulting in violations of human and indigenous people's rights. This situation, however, is fostering social cohesion through shared values among dispossessed communities in Mexico, and between them and various civic, human rights, and environmental organizations in Canada.

Spanish abstract: Esta contribución analiza de qué forma el desarrollo de recursos mineros en México por empresas canadienses influye en la cohesión social local y regionalmente. El análisis se basa en revisión documental, visitas de campo y conversaciones con informantes clave. Los resultados fuertemente sugieren que esta relación comercial no está contribuyendo a mejorar la cohesión social como sería de esperarse si la minería contribuyera al desarrollo sustentable según lo promocionan los gobiernos de México y Canadá. En vez de contribuir a reducir la pobreza, se han generado diversos impactos sociales y ambientales debido a la falta de responsabilidad social que prevalece en el sector minero. Estos incluyen violaciones de derechos humanos y gentes indígenas. Sin embargo, estas consecuencias negativas están favoreciendo la cohesión social entre las comunidades afectadas por la minería en México y las organizaciones civiles en Canadá que están ejerciendo presión en Canadá para que haya cambios en el sistema político y legal para asegurar que las empresas canadienses operen de manera social y ambientalmente responsable.

French abstract: Ce e contribution entend voir de quelle manière l'utilisation transfrontalière des ressources minérales par des entreprises canadiennes contribuent à la cohésion locale et régionale. L'analyse se fonde sur l'examen des documents, une visite sur le terrain, et les interviews menées avec les parties prenantes des projets miniers canadiens au Mexique. Les résultats suggèrent fortement que, malgré les avantages formulés dans le discours des gouvernements canadien et mexicain, ce e relation économique ne conduit pas à la cohésion sociale comme on pourrait s'y attendre. Plutôt que d'aider les secteurs déshérités de la société mexicaine à satisfaire leurs besoins de base, le manque de responsabilité sociale de la part des deux gouvernements nationaux et certaines entreprises minières transnationales produit de nombreux impacts environnementaux et sociaux qui se traduisent par des violations des droits de l'homme des peuples indigènes. Ce e situation, cependant, favorise la cohésion sociale à travers des valeurs partagées entre les communautés dépossédées au Mexique, et entre eux et diff érentes organisations civiles défenseurs des droits de l'homme et environnementaux au Canada.

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Protecting Indigenous Rights from Mining Companies

The Case of Ethnological Expertise in Yakutia

Violetta Gassiy

The Arctic is one of Russia’s treasures. However, Arctic economic development means that business is invading lands that are sacred to indigenous peoples. As a rule, regional authorities are interested in tax revenues from subsoil users, prompting them to decide the culture-or-mining dilemma in favor of the latter. But this does not mean that the price of this encroachment on indigenous lands remains uncalculated. Since its establishment in 2010, Yakutia’s Ethnological Expertise Committee has developed a tool for assessing the damage caused to indigenous communities by subsoil users. The problem of getting businesses to compensate indigenous communities has yet to be solved. This article seeks answers to the problem of fair compensation methods and explores modes of partnership and cooperation on traditional lands.

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Glenn Banks

The size and dramatic impact of the large-scale mines of Melanesia make a useful case study of the effects of economic globalization on local communities, particularly in terms of poverty and inequality. In the context of debates concerning globalization and poverty, this article examines the processes around large-scale mining at both the national and local scales. It argues that the issue of scale is critical to discussions of the links between poverty and globalization, with no evidence that large-scale mining has reduced poverty at the national level in Papua New Guinea over the last thirty years. Evidence is given from the Porgera mine of the effects of mining development at the local scale, with absolute poverty down but inequality increasing. Ethnographic detail helps to situate these processes in the dynamics of the local society. It is these locally grounded attributes that account for the production of inequality far better than generalized accounts of the 'culture of globalization'.

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Trouble in Para-sites

Deference and Influence in the Ethnography of Epistemic Elites

Paul Robert Gilbert

Through his enduring efforts to interrogate the regulative ideals of fieldwork, George Marcus has empowered doctoral students in anthropology to rethink their ethnographic encounters in terms that reflect novel objects and contexts of inquiry. Marcus' work has culminated in a charter for ethnographic research among 'epistemic communities' that requires 'deferral' to these elite modes of knowing. For adherents to this programme of methodological reform, the deliberately staged 'para-site' – an opportunity for ethnographers and their 'epistemic partners' to reflect upon a shared intellectual purpose – is the signature fieldwork encounter. This article draws on doctoral research carried out among the overlapping epistemic communities that comprise London's market for mining finance, and reviews an attempt to carve out a para-site of my own. Troubled by this experience, and by the ascendant style of deferent anthropology, I think through possibilities for more critical ethnographic research among epistemic elites.

Open access

Aleida Azamar Alonso

English Abstract: This article analyzes resistance and negotiation processes between different sectors of the population of Mazapil, Zacatecas, and the management of the Peñasquito mining company. This analysis is done through an assessment made from the perspective of environmental privatization and resistance movements to this type of activity. The research included a qualitative methodology with an ethnographic approach that was carried out in rural and marginalized areas, where the presence of the State is weak, and the population lacks adequate mechanisms and tools for negotiations in equitable conditions. The results indicate that most of the interviewees are in favor of negotiation, although the type of relation among them tend toward conflict over the control of available resources.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza los procesos de resistencia y negociación entre diferentes sectores de la población de Mazapil, Zacatecas y los responsables de la empresa minera Peñasquito, a través de una valoración desde el enfoque de la privatización ecologista y los movimientos de resistencia ante este tipo de actividades. La investigación incluyó metodología de corte cualitativo con un enfoque etnográfico que se ejecutó en áreas rurales y marginales donde la presencia del Estado es débil y la población adolece de mecanismos y herramientas adecuadas para una negociación en condiciones equitativas. Los resultados señalan que en su mayoría los entrevistados se encuentran a favor de la negociación, aunque el tipo de relación entre estos tiende hacia el conflicto por el control de los recursos disponibles.

French abstract: Cet article analyse les processus de résistance et de négociation entre différents secteurs de la population de Mazapil, au Zacatecas, Mexique, et les responsables de la société minière Peñasquito, à travers une évaluation fondée sur la privatisation environnementale et les mouvements de résistance à ce type d’activité. La recherche s’appuie sur une méthodologie qualitative et une approche ethnographique menées dans des zones rurales et marginales où la présence de l’État est limitée et où la population manque de mécanismes et d’outils adéquats pour négocier dans des conditions équitables. Les résultats indiquent que la plupart des personnes interrogées sont favorables à la négociation, alors que leurs relations s’organisent autour du conflit pour le contrôle des ressources.

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Eliza Guyol-Meinrath Echeverry

’eqchi’ Maya community of Lote Ocho from their lands. 1 In 2011, 11 Lote Ocho women filed a lawsuit against the mining company in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for gang rapes that they allege were committed during the eviction. The case, Caal v