Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Healing Justice: Environmental Defenders and a Thriving Amazonia
Authors: Ofrias, Lindsay
Advisors: BiehlRouse, JoãoCarolyn
Contributors: Anthropology Department
Keywords: Amazonia
Medical-environmental-legal anthropology
Subjects: Cultural anthropology
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: My dissertation, “Healing Justice: Environmental Defenders and a Thriving Amazonia,” uses multi-sited transnational fieldwork to explore the political economy of contamination and people’s struggles for biocultural survival in the oil frontier of Amazonian Ecuador. Over 27 months, I conducted participant observation and ethnographic interviewing in Ecuador and several international courtrooms with Indigenous leaders, mestizo campesinos, state authorities, lawyers, and oil industry spokespeople. Whereas affected people described the lived experience of oil contamination as akin to targeted chemical warfare, industry representatives denied any intention to cause harm. I address this gap by questioning scholarly accounts of contamination as the collateral damage of capitalist pursuits. By probing entanglements of the industries of oil, health, and environmental remediation, I instead consider contamination—and the management of its attendant harms—as a means for enacting control over people ‘in the way of’ extraction. My dissertation’s central contribution to social science’s understanding of environmental violence is its analysis of how the harmful impacts of biotoxins allow for the consolidation of state and corporate power. While critiques of neoliberalism and Marxist-oriented environmental theories have focused on disincentives to responsible business conduct, my work examines financial flows between industries that create what I call an “incentive to contaminate.” Demonstrating, for instance, how the sale of petroleum-derived chemicals to clean up oil spills feeds into this incentive, my findings point to how ecological harm enables the expansion of extractive industry. By centering community-led projects for repair, this dissertation additionally elaborates local political ecologies of health, which weave together a decolonial ethics of multispecies care in a world relationally ruptured by oil development.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Anthropology

Files in This Item:
This content is embargoed until 2024-11-22. For questions about theses and dissertations, please contact the Mudd Manuscript Library. For questions about research datasets, as well as other inquiries, please contact the DataSpace curators.

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.