1st Edition

Environmental Politics in Latin America Elite dynamics, the left tide and sustainable development

Edited By Benedicte Bull, Mariel Aguilar-Stoen Copyright 2015
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Since colonial times the position of the social, political and economic elites in Latin America has been intimately connected to their control over natural resources. Consequently, struggles to protect the environment from over-exploitation and contamination have been related to marginalized groups’ struggles against local, national and transnational elites. The recent rise of progressive, left-leaning governments – often supported by groups struggling for environmental justice – has challenged the established elites and raised expectations about new regimes for natural resource management.

    Based on case-studies in eight Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, El Salvador and Guatemala), this book investigates the extent to which there have been elite shifts, how new governments have related to old elites, and how that has impacted on environmental governance and the management of natural resources. It examines the rise of new cadres of technocrats and the old economic and political elites’ struggle to remain influential. The book also discusses the challenges faced in trying to overcome structural inequalities to ensure a more sustainable and equitable governance of natural resources.

    This timely book will be of great interest to researchers and masters students in development studies, environmental management and governance, geography, political science and Latin American area studies.

    1. Environmental governance and sustainable development in Latin America  2. Elites, classes and environmental governance: Conceptual and theoretical challenges  Part 1: Agriculture and biotechnology  3. El Salvador: The challenge to entrenched elites and the difficult road to a sustainable development model  4. Bolivia: Emerging and traditional elites and the governance of the soy sector  5. Argentina: Government-agribusiness elite dynamics and its consequences for environmental governance  6. Ecuador: Changing biosafety frames and new political forces in Correa's governmenet  Part 2: Mining  7. New elites around South America's strategic resources  8. Staying the same: Transnational elites, mining and environmental governance in Guatemala  9. Elite views on the use of water and energy in mining in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador  Part 3: Forestry  10. REDD+ and forest governance in Latin America: The role of science-policy networks  11. State governments and forest policy: A new elite in the Brazilian Amazon?  12. Conclusion


    Benedicte Bull is a Professor at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.

    Mariel Aguilar-Støen is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway.

    "The importance of elite politics to environmental governance is undeniable and yet the actual operations of this politics and the shifting constitution of elites have received far too little attention in studies of environmental governance in Latin America and beyond. This book provides a trove of valuable insights into the ways in which elites affect Latin American environments and the political possibilities for more equitable and sustainable relationships between society and natural resources. A super contribution."

    Anthony Bebbington, Clark University, USA

    "With the arrival of new left-wing governments to Latin America, and as elites shift in the region, this book offers an original look at their performance. Featuring several case studies, the chapters in this book simultaneously assess different economic sectors and countries governed by different versions of the Latin American left, both in terms of political power over society and over nature."

    Eduardo Gudynas, Latin American Centre for Social Ecology, Uruguay