Pere Nogues Martin

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10619

Approve Date

September 29, 2023

Project Title

Nogues Martin, Pere (New York, Graduate Center, City U. of) "The making of a lithium frontier: Mining, Conflict and Identity in Bolivia's Uyuni Salt Flat"

Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flat contains rich lithium deposits and is the stage of intensifying social conflict. In this twelve-month research, I will investigate (1) the making of a resource frontier, (2) how local people negotiate prospective social and environmental transformations and how these foster identity demands and land claims, and (3) how local communities, together with environmental activists, are producing a kind of environmental knowledge which, not only questions the current mining practices, but also encourages international solidarity networks. My research looks at how lithium governance, which is characterized by uncertainty and deficient scientific knowledge, is intertwined with, and produces, new local notions of resource ownership, territorial belonging, and environmental concerns in ways different from how the extraction of hydrocarbons and other minerals would. This research also proposes alternative ways of engaged production of knowledge in which local communities, activists, and scholars collaborate and set common goals. The premise of my project is that climate change mitigation cannot be achieved through the constant technological revolution on which financial and industrial capitalism depends, but from activist opposition to extractivism and by centering the understandings and experiences of the communities that are most affected by climate change and mining’s ecological destruction.