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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

The origins of support and opposition to mining

Jorge is a doctoral researcher at the European Ethnology Department of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His main research interests are anthropology of environmental conflicts, environmental social movements, and ethics in human-nature relations.


Photo: Wikimedia.org
This research seeks to understand the population´s support and opposition to mining in conflict scenarios. As mining is increasingly contested in the context of climate change and criticism against extractivism, it becomes critical to understand why we observe significantly different reactions among similar populations, in front of the same industrial practices and within alike contexts of risk.Through a comparative case study in Mexico, this research will try to answer the question: why do communities support or reject mining, and how do they achieve a stand in front of it? It will further seek to clarify


  • How do power relations influence the building of a political stand in mining conflicts?
  • How do the particular positions evolve through a causal chain? and
  • Which are the key factors that trigger confrontation between social actors in these cases

The mining conflicts will be analyzed as political outcomes of wider developing social relations, through the interdisciplinary framework of political ecology—which gathers theories of semiotics, process tracing political science, neo-Gramscian political philosophy and analysis of hegemony, social psychology, and post/de-colonial theory. Key methods will be process tracing, discourse analysis, and qualitative analysis of ethnographic data, gathered through participatory observation fieldwork. The research approach could deepen our understanding of the factors that precede mining conflicts and could also help to develop an interdisciplinary path to strengthen a preventive approach and avoid the worsening of developing conflicts, from mining or other environmental struggles.

Jorge graduated in Environmental Biology (MSc) and Philosophy (BSc) from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is now a Doctoral Researcher at the Department of European Ethnology of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and belongs to the Graduate Program of the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys). He holds a doctoral research scholarship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst – DAAD.


Photo: Jorge Vega


Jorge Vega Marrot, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 30 2093 66331
E-mail: jorge.vega@hu-berlin.de