Environmental resistance and Aboriginal development : a comparative study of mining ventures in the United States and Canada
Author(s)Ali, Saleem H
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Lawrence E. Susskind.
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Summary: This dissertation asks the question: why do indigenous communities support environmental causes in certain cases of mining development and not in others, when technical indicators of environmental impact may in fact be comparable? The empirical research question I am trying to address is: When does environmental resistance arise in native communities in the United States and Canada that are faced with the prospect of mining development? Native people in the United States and Canada have endured widespread environmental harm at the behest of mining ventures. During the past two decades, the enactment of environmental laws and the recognition of treaty violations by settler governments have collectively led to a politics of retribution in both countries. However, conflicts surrounding mining development and indigenous people continue to challenge policy-makers on both sides of the border. I use qualitative social science research techniques such as deviant case analysis, process tracing, congruence procedures and counterfactual analysis to study four instances of mining development (cases involving both the prevalence and non-prevalence of environmental resistance in each of the two countries). After using a process of elimination procedure in my initial scoping analysis for the case studies, I test process-oriented hypotheses anchored in theories of negotiation involving social movements and linkage politics. My study reveals that contrary to common belief, neither scientific studies (technical impact) and economic considerations nor external influence of civic society adequately explain the emergence or prevalence of resistance. Instead the negotiation process, particularly the way in which issues are linked, strategic alliance formation and the articulation of sovereignty are the key determinants of environmental resistance in Aboriginal communities. I conclude with some lessons for both the US and Canada in terms of public policy and negotiation processes that can be most conducive to environmentally responsible and effective planning of mining ventures on or near Aboriginal land.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (v. 2, leaves 325-346).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.