“El agua vale más que el oro” (Water is worth more than gold) – Mining and Social Protest in Latin America

In this project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, we study instances of political protest that have surged concomitantly to the dramatic increase of mining activities in Latin America. Mining projects often have severe externalities for the environment, and are located in indigenous territories. The project’s theoretical framework integrates motivational approaches and the political opportunity structure to help explain under which conditions grievances are translated into protest. In particular, the focus is on the impact of ethic autonomy regimes, transnational corporate social responsibility initiatives, and national party systems in shaping ethno-environmentalist mobilization. At the heart of the project lies the construction of a new multi-level dataset on mining conflicts in Latin America between 2000 and 2013, based on a semi-automated strategy of news media event coding.