Project news

New publications under the project:

Labor agency and the importance of the national scale, in Political Geography, 2012.

Barton, J. R. & Rom√°n, √Ā. (2012). Social movement strategies for
articulating claims for socio-ecological justice: glocal asymmetries in
the Chilean forestry sector. Globalizations 9(6), 869-885.

New Political Spaces in Latin American Natural Resource Governance (Palgrave Macmillan), 2012.

See our Publications page.


The past couple of decades have witnessed a set of broad and contradictory processes in Latin America, such as institutional democratization, economic liberalization and a resurgence of leftist politics. ¬†These processes have changed the ‚Äústructural context‚ÄĚ for collective action and civil society politics, and contributed to the emergence of new types of social movements making claims for citizenship, representation and more equitable distribution of resources.

This produces a complex set of political spaces for civil society actors. Indigenous politics have become extraordinarily prominent and influential. NGOs seem to be thriving in the region, and have been given new responsibilities and funding opportunities in bilateral and multilateral assistance programs. The effectiveness of labor unions, on the other hand, appears to have declined significantly in the context of state restructuring, economic liberalization and privatization. How effective these different actors will be in making claims towards issues of redistribution and recognition is currently unclear.

Negotiating new political spaces: claims for redistribution and recognition in Chile and Bolivia will advance social-scientific theory on the interrelations between structural context, political practice and the ability of different actors to press their claims effectively, and give deeper insight into the implications of these interrelations for empirical and theoretical questions of redistribution and recognition. The objectives of the project are as follows:

– Develop ‚Äúpolitical space‚ÄĚ as a theoretical and analytical framework for understanding the spatial and scalar characteristics of political practice for actors, focusing on labor unions and NGOs in particular
– Use this framework to map the interrelations between structural context, political practice and the ability of different actors to effectively press their claims
– Discuss implications of these findings upon empirical and theoretical questions of redistribution and recognition
– Suggest future directions for how policy may be most effective in addressing enduring arrangements of redistributive injustice and lack of recognition

This framework is operationalized in case studies in Bolivia and Chile, primarily. In Chile, the focus will be on the market-driven forestry and aquaculture sectors. In Bolivia, the focus will be new institutionalizations of democracy, and on how unions in gas and mining sectors negotiate their interests within these. In case studies we will discuss the following questions:

– What characterizes the structural context of labor unions, NGOs and other actors in and around their sectors?
– In what political spaces do they participate and how does this influence on their negotiating practices?
– How does the structural context and political space systems of the actors influence on their ability to press claims?
– How can this inform theoretical discussions on structural context, effectiveness of different claims, and issues of redistribution and recognition?

Read the project description here.

Visit the website of an associated research project, Glocalization and Territorial Transformations, run by our partners in Chile

Negotiating New Political Spaces
Department of Geography, University of Bergen