Vela-Almeida, Diana, Vijay Kolinjivadi, & Nicholás Kosoy (2018, January). The building of mining discourses and the politics of scale in Ecuador. World Development, 103, 188-198. (

Abstract: In questioning the multiple positions of the stakeholders involved in the mining debate in Ecuador, this paper offers an analytical framework to uncover the ‘politics of scale’ of mining discourses. This is done by understanding how discourses are simultaneously structured, disassembled and restructured according to power relations among stakeholders involved in the mining debate. Q methodology is used as a tool to assess the subjective perceptions of key stakeholders regarding mining projects in the country. Results highlight four distinct discourses: (1) responsible extractivism; (2) local self-determination; (3) national economic development; and (4) local economic development. Discursive analyses suggest that mining positions are constructed to contest power in: decision-making, the enactment of values and rights, and the uneven distribution of economic benefits and socio-environmental burdens associated with mining. The analysis also offers insights for enhancing conflict-resolution and depicting the political complexity associated with structural power inequalities among actors implicated in mining conflicts in the country.

Diana Vela-Almeida <> is in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, and the Center for Public Economics and Strategic Sectors, Institute of Higher National Studies, Quito, Ecuador.