This exploration piece challenges the dominant reading of oil-related social conflicts through an environmental prism. Through a methodological intervention that classifies conflicts as ‘brown’ (concerning primarily the distribution and investment of economic rents) or ‘green’ (demanding ecological remediation, improved extraction practices, or cessation of oil extraction altogether), it analyses a database of oil related conflicts in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon. The region is particularly suitable for such a study not only because oil extraction has a long history there but also because the resulting conflagration has been well-documented.
Building on the finding that twenty-two of the thirty-six cases that could be classified along this dichotomous divide are “brown”, the article problematizes the extant scholarly literatures’ conceptualization and discusses the potential analytical benefits of recognizing that some movements might be motivated primarily by concerns that are not necessarily environmental. A more thorough recognition of the motives underpinning contentious action concerning extractive industries is also a prerequisite for understanding the policy influence of social mobilization.

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European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Pellegrini, L, & Arsel, M. (2018). Oil and Conflict in the Ecuadorian Amazon: An Exploration of Motives and Objectives. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, 106(July-December), 209–218. doi:10.32992/erlacs.10413