Dissertation Abstracts

How is Environmental Sustainability Constructed? Analysis of Mining Conflicts in Ecuador, 1990-2011

Author: Cisneros, Paul W, paulcisnerosa@gmail.com
Department: Public Affairs
University: Facultad Latinoamerica de Ciencias Sociales, Ecuador
Supervisor: Guillaume Fontaine
Year of completion: 2011
Language of dissertation: Spanish

Keywords: Sustainability , Advocacy Coalitions , Mining Policy , Ecuador
Areas of Research: Environment and Society , Social Classes and Social Movements , Political Sociology


This research deals with the formation of pro and anti-mining coalitions in Ecuador between 1990 and 2011. We depart from a critique to Latin American political ecology which sees mining conflicts and the influence of civil society on mining policy mainly as a reaction to the neoliberal model of mining and the global expansion of sphere of influence of extractive capital. On the other hand, we are interested in showing the complexity of civil society strategies and forms of organizations that help constitute mining conflicts in Ecuador.
We develop a framework to analyze the construction of sustainability drawing from theoretical principles from the sociology of risk and the sociology of action as developed by Ulrich Beck and Alain Touraine respectively, governance studies and the Advocacy Coalition Framework.
Our findings suggest that environmental sustainability is still understood as the incorporation of environmental concerns on decision-making but largely ignores the need for civil society participation as a means to both improve the environmental performance of mining projects and the democratic performance of societies largely dependent on the extraction of natural resources.