Natural resource governance, extractive industries and rural development (Natural resources; development; inequality and poverty)
At the core of my work has been a long-term involvement in Latin America, in particular the Andean countries and El Salvador. Initially I was interested in understanding the drivers of agrarian change in colonist and indigenous communities in Ecuador and Peru. This was followed by a focus on the ways in which nongovernmental and social movement organizations affected access to technology and decision making processes in rural development throughout Hispanophone South America. Since the mid-2000s, my primary concern has been to understand the ways in which the expansion of natural resource extraction has transformed regional and national political economies, and the scope that exists for what might be considered socially and environmentally just forms of rural change in contexts that are structured by these extractive economies. In the course of this research I have been lucky to work with some tremendous students, brilliant and brave colleagues in the research and nongovernmental communities in Latin America, and my life partner – all of whom have changed how I understand these phenomena, albeit in ways that they may not always agree with. None of this work would have been possible without these colleagues and friends. Some of the results of this work can be found in the books Subterranean Struggles: New Dynamics of Mining, Oil and Gas in Latin America (University of Texas Press, 2013, ed. with J. Bury), Social Conflict, Economic Development and Extractive Industries: Evidence from Latin America (Routledge, 2012, ed.), Los Movimientos Sociales y la Política de la Pobreza en el Perú (IEP/CEPES, with M. Scurrah and C. Bielich, 2011), Can NGOs Make a Difference? The Challenge of Development Alternatives (Zed, with S. Hickey, D. Mitlin, 2008), and Minería, Movimientos Sociales y Respuestas Campesinas: Una Ecología Política de Transformaciones Territoriales (IEP/CEPES, 2007 ed.).