Violence and care in conflicts over natural resources in Latin America

Numerous (indigenous) communities in Latin America are involved in resisting extractivist projects, demanding a clean environment, participation, and social justice. In so doing, they often not only face (foreign) companies, but are also caught in a web of armed and non-armed actors that all contest the same territory and its natural resources. Resistance towards large scale extraction is in addition considered a threat to internal security; people involved in resistance are often seen as criminals and face criminalization and other forms of violence.

In this research project, I explore the multiple forms of violence that people that oppose extractivist projects in Guatemala face and how everyday experiences of feeling unsafe, shape different dimensions of their everyday life, such as family relations, (mental) health, and household finances; I seek to understand and engage with this less visible, everyday dimension of (relational) resistance. The constant presence of multiple forms of violence and the fear thereof is ingrained in every facet of everyday life and not only impacts the resistance towards extractivist projects, but also the (emotional) wellbeing of those who oppose them. I find engaged ethnography and participatory methods as a fruitful point of departure for not only understanding different articulations of violence and resistance, but also for (scholar) activist solidarity.