The Nature and History of the Extractive Project
This assignment invites you to explore the relationship between natural resource extraction and impacted communities. In our effort to understand how human societies impact environments and utilize resources, we recognize that extractive activities such as mining and fossil fuel exploitation, and so on, remake landscapes and link to human livelihoods. Extractive industries have emerged as a key element of development programs across the globe, and especially in Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific. Different actors, such as mining or oil companies, governments, and local communities, may have very different positions on how or even whether particular extractive development goes forward.
Through the analysis of a case study in which a community is or has been in conflict with an extractive project, this assignment requires you to examine the expanding roleof the exploitation of natural resources by extractive industries and the relatedcontestations that involve populations that reside in the vicinity of proposed or existingprojects.
You may be surprised by how widespread conflict is between communities andcompanies that seek to exploit natural resources that lie on or under lands used bythose communities. The community grievances often relate to environmental impacts ofthe extractive activities. Scholars and civil society organizations have documented andstudied hundreds of cases of conflict between industry and communities in every part ofthe world, and have shown that while each case is unique, there are broad patterns thatlink specific examples to each other. In many cases (though not all), the affected
communities and natural resources (the substance that is sought) are in the global southwhile the transnational corporations behind the extractive projects are headquartered in the global north, andnotably often in Canada. In this assignment, you will study one such conflict and analyze it in light of relevant scholarly literature.The assignment presents you with (1) a guideline reading to assist with your analysis: A short analysis by Kathryn Furlong and Emma S. Norman (from the Wiley BlackwellCompanion to Political Geography, First Edition) that discusses how geographers haveapproached the study of resources, particularly natural resources. A list of possiblecase studies is available on Moodle in the “assignment 2” section. Students shouldinform their TAs in Tutorial 10 (November 14/15)regarding their choice of case study.1Note: If you would like to examine a case study that is not on this list you may proposeadditional case studies to Professor Payne via the course email. If the case is considered suitable for this assignment it will be added to the Moodle list.
Your description and analysis of the case study should address the following issues:
1. What was/is the nature and history of the (proposed or existing) extractiveproject? Who is extracting or seeking to extract what, and what makes this a(potentially) viable project?
2. What concerns or objections have been raised? By whom? Briefly describe the(potential) impacts of the extractive project.
3. What activism or resistance has been organized against the extractive project?Who is involved? Is the local community working with social movements,international organizations, or other allies? If so, how?
4. What governments (and levels of government) are involved and what role dothey play in this conflict? If informative, refer to the Human Development Indexof the country where the project is located and the country where the companyis headquartered (more information on the HDI in Reading Resources).
5. Comment on the trustworthiness of available information
6. What does this example teach you about the relationship between naturalresource extraction and affected communities? Be sure to refer to the guidelinearticle and other relevant sources to answer this questio