14 Queen's Park Crescent West, Toronto, ON M5S 3K9
Diego Tuesta, PhD Student, Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto
Mining capitalism has become a primary revenue source in Latin America and many countries around the world, sparking conflicts with rural populations due to environmental harm and distributional issues. This study introduces the concept of penal extractivism to shed light on the relationship between penality and mining capitalism. Penal extractivism consists of punitive strategies a given state implements to safeguard extractive industries from disruptions by mobilized citizens. We argue this category addresses the limitations of notions like criminalization and protest policing, while bridging the gap between studies of punishment and research on extractive industries. Additionally, based on fieldwork evidence from the Espinar mining conflict in Peru, the study explains five police and penal strategies the state uses to handle mass mobilizations. Our findings indicate that penal extractivism is a dynamic and ambivalent project that targets marginalized rural populations. The state partially controls large mobilizations but fails to address the widespread social unrest, reinforcing the conditions that perpetuate environmental conflicts. Grassroots movements actively resist penal extractivism, while authorities aim to prevent crises associated with human rights violations. In Peru, civil society resistance and human rights binding conventions moderate the impact of penal extractivism, which the state enforces given its dependency on resource-based development, and its inability to sustain non-coercive agreements with rural populations across the country.
This research was funded by the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science Dean’s International & Indigenous Initiatives Fund, and the CrimSL Research Cluster for the Study of Racism and Inequality.
About the speaker
Diego Tuesta (Lima, 1989) is a punishment and society researcher who focuses on prosecutorial discretion and different forms of criminalization in the areas of drug enforcement, human trafficking, and extractive industries. He holds a BA and MA in Sociology from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, and he is currently undertaking a PhD in Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. He has worked as a consultant and advisor on multiple policy projects for public and civil society organizations domestically and internationally. His research has been published in criminology and social science journals, and his teaching experience includes courses in criminology and the sociology of punishment. For his dissertation, drawing from theories in sociology and criminal justice research, he plans to study prosecutorial decision-making and the reproduction of racial disparities in Ontario, Canada, thus contributing to an understudied policy field. In his free time, he likes to play tennis, chess, read social theory and philosophy texts.
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