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Extractive governance and mining conflicts: challenging scalar hierarchies through ‘opening up’ to local sustainability pathways
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2372-1551
Unit of Political Science, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.
2023 (English)In: Political Geography, ISSN 0962-6298, E-ISSN 1873-5096, Vol. 105, article id 102927Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The development of new mines forefronts the contested nature of sustainable development. Various competing pathways of sustainability underlie mining-related conflicts, often reaching beyond the local scale of contested locations. While powerful actors tend to ‘close down’ around particular pathways, ‘opening-up’ through the consideration of multiple pathways might be necessary for addressing complex situations and conflicts. Whether closing-down or opening-up occurs depends on governance structures and actors' interventions, but little is known of the dynamics involved. This paper develops understudied spatial dimensions of protest by clarifying how political opportunity structures may play out differently at different scales and in consequence impact scalar strategies of both social movements and state actors. The study comparatively analyses three mine development processes in Arctic, peripheral Sweden facing socioeconomic challenges and where mining threatens indigenous reindeer husbandry. Formal interactions are mapped by data from administrative records, while informal strategies and underlying frames are assessed through interviews and focus groups. The study shows that when there is a multiplicity of government authorities and influential mining-sceptical allies at different scales, some subnational units ‘open-up’ in response to mining-sceptical actions. Such ‘opening-up’ may influence policy decisions at higher scales, even the international. Local participation therefore constitutes a way to challenge the scalar hierarchy of the state and promote a broader and more nuanced range of pathways to sustainability. As ‘opening-up’ is not legally required, the results between the different cases differed, and where the opportunity structures were ‘closed’ mining-sceptics turned to confrontation and litigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2023. Vol. 105, article id 102927
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-210907DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2023.102927Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85164494055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-210907DiVA, id: diva2:1775553
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2017-01599Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, NV-03734-10Available from: 2023-06-27 Created: 2023-06-27 Last updated: 2023-07-21Bibliographically approved

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Zachrisson, Anna

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