Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Anthropology, University of Manitoba

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of California / Davis
Reconfiguring Networks, Politics, and Nature: The Emergence of Movements against Mining in Peru

This project examines the emergence and recent proliferation of movements against mining in Peru. Conflicts around resource extraction are not a new occurrence, but what is unprecedented is the growing force of anti-mining movements and their increasing visibility in national and international politics. My objective is to investigate the new political oppo1tunities and strategies for action that are bringing these movements to the forefront of the political arena. Specifically, I am interested in the ways in which movements against mining are reconfiguring political spaces by making "the environment" into a political field of action. Increasingly, people are organizing around the defense of agriculture, the protection of sacred mountains, the right to clean air and water-and these conflicts have come to be expressed as struggles over the environment. The goal of "protecting the environment" has enabled linkages among an expansive network of actors that extends from Peru to North America and beyond. I use the concept of "networks" to examine these transnational links, as well as the unexpected alliances forged by actors who do not necessarily share common interests or ideological positions. Rather, these networks bring together participants as diverse as grassroots activists, corporate executives, politicians, scientists, and NGOs-as well as a range of other human and nonhuman actors. In communities across the country, activists are enrolling rivers, irrigation canals, mangoes, contaminants, gods, and spirits into their networks to oppose transnational mining. By forging new political alliances, defying the nature/culture binary, transcending conventional fields of "rational" politics, and involving a host of previously hidden actors, anti-mining movements are transforming politics as we knew them-and thus require new conceptual thinking.