The road to where?A political ecology of post-neoliberalism: negotiations of extractive-led development, indigeneity and conservation in the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), Bolivia

[2015, Jessica Hope] This thesis is concerned with the demands that humans are placing on the planet. Such demands are interrogated in long-running debates about how to reconcile the tensions between development, as an immanent process of capitalist expansion (see Cowen & Shelton 1996), and the environment, taken broadly in reference to finite natural resources, landscapes and wildlife. As environmental issues become increasingly prominent in local struggles, national debates, and international policies and programmes, we need to be paying more attention to how they are produced and shaped by politics and power relations, as well as to the differences between how groups relate to their biophysical environments. In this thesis, I do this by investigating the political ecology of post-neoliberalism in Bolivia. The country has been heralded as one of the most radical political projects in Latin America and a reformed state is being implemented in the name of radical politics and revolution, appropriating discourses of indigeneity and social movements. Here, the state has blamed the global environmental crisis on the continuing dominance of capitalism and neoliberalism. This has been publically rejected by the state, whilst new ‘post-neoliberal’ forms of development and harmonious relationships between people and nature have been promoted. However, Bolivia’s post-neoliberal state project has become increasingly dependent on hydrocarbon extraction becoming the most natural resource-dependent country in the region. This has created new sites of contestation and conflict between citizens and the state, as well as complicating what the Bolivian case contributes to wider debates about development and the environment. In this project I research an ongoing conflict over the Isiboro Secure Indigenous Territory and National Park1 (TIPNIS) concentrating on the key themes of development, environment and indigeneity. This political ecology of post-neoliberalism contributes both to our 1 Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro Secure 3 understanding of this emerging political project and to broader debates about human/nature relationships – by questioning the dynamics of fringe politics. This means questioning how the terms and content of ‘alternatives’ and ‘radical’ politics are set and how this in turn shapes the possibilities for transformative paths towards more sustainable human/nature relationships.

Autor: Jessica Hope

Fecha: 2015


Código: ACA-TESIS-HOPE-00028-2015 (enlace al documento)