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Green crime, territorial resistance and the metabolic rift in Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado biomes

Authors

  • Brian Garvey University of Strathclyde
  • Thays Ricarte Court of Justice of the State of Sergipe / Universitat Rovira i Virgili
  • Maria Luisa Mendonça City University New York / Network for Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Maurício Torres Federal University of Pára
  • Daniela Stefano Network for Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Ana Laide Barbosa Universidade do Brasília
  • Fábio Pitta University of São Paulo / Network for Social Justice and Human Rights
  • Jerônimo Basílio São Mateus Federal University of Sergipe / Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Keywords:

Green crime, Brazil, metabolic rift, territory, resistance

Abstract

This paper draws on three case studies in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes of Brazil, where the encroachment of hydroenergy, mining and agroindustrial complexes into rural, forest and riverine communities has triggered environmental destruction and escalating human rights abuses. By unveiling the links between localised, violent land grabs and the broader corporate strategies of resource capture and land speculation, the paper contrasts the destructive, and often criminal territorial advance of these activities with the corporeal and cultural reproduction of communities whose resistance is an obstacle to further accumulation and environmental harm. The contrast and conflict between these distinct organisational and productive forms, imbued with massive power asymmetries, invites a broader conception of labour-capital tensions and highlight contradictions within state making apparatus with implications for both human rights and environmental harm. The paper thus builds upon theoretical advances in understanding human-nature metabolic relations to depict how corporeal rupture is intimately tied to environmental exploitation in these biodiverse territories. It insists that attention to the motivations and outcomes of rights violations at a range of scales is required to understand the perpetuation of these transgressions, while closer attention to the episteme and strategies of the communities may offer pathways to a social and ecologically committed future.

Author Biographies

Brian Garvey, University of Strathclyde

Brian Garvey, PhD in Geography, Researcher and Lecturer at the Department of Work, Employment
and Organization, University of Strathclyde, Scotland; joint Co-ordinator of the Centre for the
Political Economy of Labour.

Thays Ricarte, Court of Justice of the State of Sergipe / Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Thays Ricarte, holds a PhD and Masters from Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Catalonia, Spain; Legal advisor at the Court of Justice of the State of Sergipe and Researcher at the Centro de Estudios de Derecho Ambiental de Tarragona (CEDAT) at Universitat Rovira i Virgili, with an emphasis on Ecofeminism; Rights of People Defending the Environment; Environmental Justice; Environmental Ethics and Energy Justice.

Maria Luisa Mendonça, City University New York / Network for Social Justice and Human Rights

Maria Luisa Mendonça, PhD in Human Geography from USP, visiting researcher at the Center for place, Culture and Politics - CUNY Graduate Center, co-director of the Network for Social Justice and Human Rights and author of the book Political Economy of Agribusiness, Editora Annablume, 2018.

Maurício Torres, Federal University of Pára

Maurício Torres, Doctorate in Human Geography from the University of São Paulo, with research on territorial conflicts involving traditional peoples and communities in the Amazon. Professor at the Amazon Agriculture Institute (Ineaf), at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA).

Daniela Stefano, Network for Social Justice and Human Rights

Daniela Stefano, Journalist, Masters in Education and Broadcast journalism, Executive editor for Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.

Ana Laide Barbosa, Universidade do Brasília

Ana Laide Barbosa, Amazônian fisherwoman, greatgranddaughter of the enslaved, social educator, component of the Xingu Vivo Para Sempre movement and master’s degree student in sustainability with traditional peoples and territories, Universidade do Brasília.

Fábio Pitta, University of São Paulo / Network for Social Justice and Human Rights

Fábio Pitta, Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography at University of São Paulo and Coordinator of Research Projects at the Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.

Jerônimo Basílio São Mateus, Federal University of Sergipe / Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Jerônimo Basílio São Mateus, holds a Law degree from the Federal University of Sergipe (2004), Master’s in Environmental Law from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Spain, 2014). He has experience in labour law and environmental law, having worked in litigation in both areas for eight years.

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Published

2022-07-08

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