Discipline and Punish: Gendered Dimensions of Violence in Extractive Development

Citation:

Deonandan, Kalowatie, and Colleen Bell. 2019. "Discipline and Punish: Gendered Dimensions of Violence in Extractive Development." Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 31 (1): 24-57. 

Authors: Kalowatie Deonandan, Colleen Bell

Abstract:

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
La violence et la répression exercées à l’encontre des militantes des droits du sol et de l’environnement qui s’opposent au développement de l’industrie de l’extraction (un groupe classé par les Nations Unies comme défenseurs des droits de la personne) ont été bien documentées par plusieurs organismes non gouvernementaux œuvrant dans le domaine. Malgré leur importance équivalente, des formes indirectes de violence touchant ces mêmes défenseurs, ainsi que leur nature genrée et leurs répercussions, sont moins connues. Le présent texte analyse le concept d’« institution disciplinaire », qui repose sur le concept de pouvoir disciplinaire de Michel Foucault, englobant tous les outils disciplinaires mobilisés contre les militantes contre l’exploitation minière, avec leurs conséquences genrées. L’« institution disciplinaire » renvoie aux pratiques qui neutralisent ou empêchent carrément l’opposition et la résistance politiques. Il s’agit d’un type de violence qui est à la fois implicite et explicite, et qui opère dans un continuum, depuis la délégitimation des militantes, par des campagnes de salissage, jusqu’au recours à des agents provocateurs locaux pour diriger la violence contre elles. Bien que de nombreux acteurs soient mobilisés dans cette campagne de surveillance et de punition, le présent article se penche plus spécifiquement sur le rôle joué par l’État et ses alliés (en particulier les sociétés minières transnationales et les forces paramilitaires qui les soutiennent). L’analyse s’appuie sur des exemples de situations partout dans le monde, mais plus spécifiquement sur les exploitations minières au cœur de la résistance au Guatemala.
 
ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Violence and repression unleashed against land and environmental activists who oppose extractive industry development (a group classified by the United Nations as human rights defenders) is well documented by a number of non-governmental organizations working in the field. Less known, but equally significant, however, are the more indirect forms of violence that target these defenders and the gendered nature and impacts of violence. This analysis draws on the concept of “discipling dissent,” which builds on Michel Foucault’s conceptualization of disciplinary power to examine the range of disciplinary tools marshalled against anti-mining activists and the gendered implications therein. “Disciplining dissent” refers to the practices though which political opposition and resistance are neutralized or precluded altogether. It is a type of violence that is both implicit and explicit, and it operates along a continuum, from the delegitimizing of activists, through techniques such as smear campaigns, to the use of local proxies as agents of violence, to direct violence against activists. While there are a host of actors involved in the campaign to discipline and punish, this article focuses on the role of the state and its allies (specifically, the transnational mining corporations and the paramilitary forces that support them) and draws on examples from around the globe, but it focuses, in particular, on mining operations in Guatemala that are sites of activist resistance.

Topics: Environment, Extractive Industries, Rights, Human Rights, Violence

Year: 2019

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