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Losing ground? Extractive-led development versus environmentalism in the Isiboro Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), Bolivia

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In this paper I explore the relationship between extraction and environmentalism, questioning the extent to which extractive-led development can be resisted and negotiated by mobilizing the rights, legislative frameworks and discourses associated with both indigeneity and protected area conservation. Using a case-study approach and nine months of fieldwork data, I examine a recent dispute over plans to build a road through the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS). The road building project began in 2010 without consultation with those living there, routed past pools of natural gas within the park. Opposition to the road was immediate and has been long-lasting, with the issue returning to the public arena in 2015. By examining mobilizations of indigeneity and conservation together, as a socio-environmental strategy set against a dominant extractive agenda, this paper firstly argues that these discursive categories are shifting in response to a dominant extractive frontier and that the TIPNIS conflict is a key moment for (re)determining the political power and meaning of indigeneity, as well as the role and remit of conservation in Bolivia. The conflict is also revealing about post-neoliberalism in practice- helping us to refine how we understand, approach and question post-neoliberal claims and politics.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-929
Number of pages8
JournalExtractive Industries and Society
Issue number4
Early online date22 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

    Research areas

  • Development, Indigeneity, Political ecology, Post-neoliberalism, Protected area conservation

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