Sara A. Kleinkopf

Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-14-2013

Major Department or Program

Sociology - Environmental Studies


Alisa Cordner


Worldwide, communities and citizens fighting against mining development, contamination and pollution are also mobilizing against their lack of political rights, social rights and equal political participation. In this thesis, I interviewed 15 members of anti-mining organizations in both Argentina and Colorado to analyze how and why citizen mobilizations developed to overcome injustices associated with mining. From these interviews, it is clear that communities faced conditions of environmental injustice as mining is unequally distributed along global and internal peripheries, and that communities were denied equal access to information, participation, and representation. These conditions of injustice directly affected the manner in which individuals from mobilized against mining. In Argentina, these conditions drove communities to organize in the form of an assembly, search for autonomy, and seek structural change. In Colorado, conditions of environmental injustice pushed citizens to reinforce their belief in the democratic system by organizing in a hierarchical but democratic groups, working to reinforce and strengthen laws to increase democratic decision making procedures, and forming networks to facilitate the spread of information and resources. Whether working within established channels to alter and improve the political system from within, or working outside established channels to revolutionize the political system, both communities in Argentina and Colorado fight to not only to eliminate mining (or the threat of mining in their communities), but also to gain a stronger voice and role in future decisions that affect the wellbeing of themselves and their communities.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Mineral industries -- Environmental aspects -- America, Mines and mineral resources -- Political aspects, Environmental justice -- Citizen participation -- Anecdotes, Communities -- Social aspects, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2014 -- Sociology-Environmental Studies

Permanent URL

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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