The configuration of mining infrastructures in Mexico

Authors: Valeria Guarneros-Meza*, De Montfort University
Topics: Political Geography, Environment
Keywords: mining, infrastructure, Mexico, governing relations
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 32
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Based on debates that consider infrastructures as a manifestation of social and technological processes (in particular Larkin 2013; Von Schnitzler 2008) the departing point of the paper is the experiences of social movements and grassroots groups, which reemphasise that (mining) infrastructures cannot be divorced from assessments of space and are key to understanding local governance arrangements and policy. The paper’s argument is based on two Mexican case studies (Sonora River region, and Oaxaca Highlands) which provide a different contextual configuration of mining infrastructures around four factors: a) overlaps between state and non-state institutions, b) legacies of collective resistance/ mobilisation, c) the importance given to local authorities as vehicle for change and d) the history of local economies. The paper argues that these four factors are important to understand how infrastructures shape state-society governing relations, albeit in different ways. The differences between cases result from a series of institutional overlaps and assemblages carried out by local actors, through a series of informal processes, to defend decisions that promote (mining and their contesting) infrastructures and shape the power relations accompanying them.

This paper has been accepted as part of the panel entitled "Roads, bridges, dams and ports: what does the turn to infrastructure (both empirical and theoretical) mean for Latin American environmental geographies?", led by Jessica Hope.

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