Paper

Conflict transformation in indigenous peoples ’ territories: doing environmental justice with a ‘decolonial turn ’

One of the distinctive features of environmental justice theory in Latin America is its influence by decolonial thought, which explains social and environmental injustices as arising from the project of modernity and the ongoing expansion of a European cultural imaginary. The decolonization of knowledge and social relations is highlighted as one of the key challenges for overcoming the history of violent oppression and marginalization in development and conservation practice in the region. In this paper we discuss how conflict transformation theory and practice has a role to play in this process. In doing so, we draw on the Socio-environmental Conflict Transformation (SCT) framework elaborated by Grupo Confluencias, which puts a focus on building community capacity to impact different spheres of power: people and networks, structures and cultural power. We discuss this framework and its practical use in the light of ongoing experiences with indigenous peoples in Latin America. We propose that by strengthening the power of agency of indigenous peoples to impact each of these spheres it is possible to build constructive intra and intercultural relations that can help increase social and environmental justice in their territories and thus contribute to decolonizing structures, relations and ways of being.

https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/67389/1/DevStudRes_Rodriguez_2018.pdf