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Infrastructure, development and the environment in a landscape of spatial reconfigurations across the Global South: the case of the Belt and Road Initiative

Gurol-Haller, Dr. Julia / Dr. Fabricio Rodríguez (2023): „Infrastructure, development and the environment in a landscape of spatial reconfigurations across the Global South: the case of the Belt and Road Initiative“, in: Bull, Benedicte; Aguilar-Støen, Mariel (Hg.), Handbook on International Development and the Environment. . Glos, UK; Massachussets, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 200-2015.
Kurze Beschreibung / Abstract:

This contribution explores how the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its promise of ‘connectivity’ is contributing to the political re-imagination, contestation, and reconfiguration of nature-society relations and development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The chapter scrutinises three of the most important BRI projects in LAC. While these cases could not possibly represent the full spectrum of BRI interventions in infrastructure, they are well-suited for identifying the context-specific dynamics of how China’s connectivity scheme induces developmental effects ‘on the ground’ while allowing us to elucidate on its general working logics, functions and potential contradictions more broadly. Our cases include: 1) the Chinese-financed extension of the Panama Canal, 2) the Coca-Codo Sinclair Hydropower Plant in Ecuador and 3) the Port of Chancay in Peru. The analysis relies on a transregional and relational understanding of space, which we understand as both the pre-condition for and the result of social interactions that shape the cultural meanings, power dynamics, and functionalities of a given territory. Seen from this perspective, the local, the global and the national are not separate but rather co-constitutive scales of agency, struggle, identity and ultimately of socio-spatial changes in the shifting balance of power. We define ‘infrastructure’ as projects enabling transnational and multi-scalar transformations of nature-society configurations, while simultaneously enhancing the global flow of goods, workforce, and commodities as well as (re-)producing social hierarchies within and across countries and continents.

Erscheinungsdatum:
Forschungsbereich: Contested Governance
Sprache: English
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