Cattle in the Cane: Class Formation, Agrarian Histories, and the Temporalities of Mining Conflicts in the Ecuadorian Andes

Abstract: A recurring question within literature on resource conflicts is how to explain the origins of local opposition. Many studies begin with the arrival of mining interests. In this paper, however, I situate a conflict over proposed copper mining in northwestern Ecuador in relation to histories of agrarian settlement. Though the prospect of mining first emerged in the early 1990s, I trace the origins of this conflict to sugar cane in the 1940s. Drawing attention to processes of agrarian change, I demonstrate how local actors have generated the literal and metaphorical fields upon which this conflict has played out.