The Legal Cultures of the Subsoil: The Judicialisation of Environmental Politics in Central America

Project Summary

This project is hosted by: Institute of Latin American Studies

Research interests:
Civil Rights, Human rights, International Law
Project period:
01-Oct-2016 - 30-Sep-2018
Project categories:
Research project
Project summary:

The proposed project will explore the increasing resort to legal instruments, institutions, languages and practices by a range of stakeholders (corporations, governments, and civil society organisations) in the context of extraction-related conflicts as a means to assert their rights over resource governance. Coinciding with the booming demand for natural resources since the 1990s, foreign direct investment targeted toward the extraction of minerals and hydrocarbons has grown exponentially, in tandem with conflicts over the governance and management of these resources. Latin America exemplifies this trend, with conflicts over extraction in the region having become a concern for a wide range of local and international stakeholders. This research will be based on fieldwork conducted in Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), which has received little scholarly attention on the matter of resource governance despite the high number of fierce and polarised conflicts underway there; the few existing studies on this area have been limited to single countries or extractive operations. While filling this gap, this research will also examine the transnational dimensions that are becoming increasingly prominent within environmental politics. To this end, qualitative research will be conducted in Washington, DC, Geneva and London in order to shed light on the role played by global judicial and quasi-judicial transnational institutions, norms and agreements. Although the geographical scope of the empirical cases will be limited to Central America, this research will seek to yield theoretical and practice-oriented lessons for conflicts over resource governance that are occurring elsewhere in the world.

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Management Details

Lead researcher & project contact:

Name Position Institute Organisation Contact
Dr Ainhoa Montoya Lecturer Institute of Latin American Studies SAS



Funder Grant type Award
Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders 2016