Event Details

Thursday, 31 August 2017
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
UQ Location:
Michie Building (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Amelia Radke
(07) 3365 3236
Org. Unit:
Social Science

Event Description

Full Description:
Dr Into Goudsmit, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Title: Progressive Extractivism: Realignment of Indigenous Communities and the Bolivian State in the Struggle for Mining Resources.

The conflict at the Mallku Quta mine in North Potosí, Bolivia, becomes world news in 2012 when opponents of the Canadian junior mining company South American Silver threaten to bury hostages alive. By the end of the year the Bolivian government has nationalised the mine and militarised the region quashing social unrest. Government, presented by president Evo Morales Ayma, never came closer.

This paper explores the indigenous perceptions of the legitimacy of the main protagonists in the conflict (opposing Andean communities, mining cooperatives, South American Silver, indigenous movements and the state) singling out the local experiences of (central) government. The indigenous communities of Mallku Quta (re)produce a fetish of government that is characterised by legal instruments such as dry seals and decrees. This fetish instantiates aspirations of social justice along with a lack of expectations that government will actually have much influence on daily life. Like the Spanish Kings before them, Bolivian presidents are supposed to behave like benevolent yet distant government. However, Evo Morales gets actively involved in the Mallku Quta conflict. He does so convincingly that people start to address him as jatun patrón Evo, big landlord Evo, marginalising the fetish of government. My arguments, then, provide a dense cultural framework explaining the local ‘frictions’ of global challenges such as the transnational mining industry.

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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