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The Discursive Paradox of Environmental Conflict: Between Ecologism and Economism in Ecuador
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Environmental Science. Stockholm University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2581-2588
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3109-2078
2018 (English)In: Forum for Development Studies, ISSN 0803-9410, E-ISSN 1891-1765Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ecuador in times of the Rafael Correa government constitutes a prime example of the paradox of environmental conflict, in which all involved actors claim to represent the true vanguard concerning safeguarding of the environment and human conditions. The country presents the ecologically most progressive constitution in the world and also incorporates far-reaching recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights. Notwithstanding, the economy remains reliant on extractivism and the government argues that the revenues of extractive industries benefit the common good. Anchored in a distinction between environmentalism and ecologism, this article identifies and problematizes dominant narratives among the actors of the contentious discursive scenarios, and analyses how the state and its ecological-indigenous opposition aim to position themselves within the political conflict. The central questions are: How are eco-progressive politics perceived, defined and expressed in this setting of an intercultural and plurinational society economically reliant on natural resource extraction? Which values, interests and ontological assumptions are at stake and how are these expressed in the discursive struggle? The research is based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, combined with critical reading of the previous literature and discourse analysis. The article contributes to politico-environmental debates in Ecuador and beyond and shows that environmental struggle is entangled in broader political disputes conditioned by global economic structures. It likewise communicates with debates on argumentative discourse and illustrates that the same core arguments can constitute the argumentative basis of rivalling actors in political struggles, thus emphasizing the centrality of the contextual framing amid ontological divides in contentious discursive settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
resource governance, ecologism-environmentalism, politico-environmental conflict, argumentative discourse analysis, human–nature–society ontologies, Sumak Kawsay, Ecuador
National Category
Globalisation Studies
Research subject
Environmental Studies; Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-34880DOI: 10.1080/08039410.2018.1427622Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053538463OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-34880DiVA, id: diva2:1200318
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2012-1828Available from: 2018-04-24 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2018-10-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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