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Estudios atacameños

On-line version ISSN 0718-1043


VAN TEIJLINGEN, Karolien. Large-scale mining, territorial pluralism and contention: mapping encounters and divergences in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Estud. atacam. [online]. 2019, n.63, pp.275-299. ISSN 0718-1043.

Over the last decade, Ecuador has become a new frontier for large-scale mining expansion and this article aims to analyze the territorial transformations and contentious politics that are induced by this new capitalist activity. It therefore presents a case-study of Ecuador’s first large-scale mining project, the Mirador copper mine in the Cordillera del Cóndor in the Amazon region. Using analytical insights from the current debates on territory, specifically the recently coined concept of “territorial pluralism”, the article shows the multiple historical territorialization processes that shaped the Cordillera del Cóndor and describes the interruptive reconfiguration introduced by the mining project. It furthermore examines the visions and strategies of local resistance group. Based on this analysis, I conclude that this particular approach to territory contributes to our comprehension of mining conflicts by revealing the distinct forms of understanding and relating to space and nature, and the power relations that constitute them. I moreover argue that territorial pluralism helps to explain how the repertoires of contention and alternatives that surge from these struggles are structured.

Keywords : large-scale mining; conflict; territory; contentious politics; Ecuador.

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