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Scientific paper


Finding common ground: exploring synergies between degrowth and environmental justice in Chiapas, Mexico

Jonathan Otto

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Scientific paper

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Journal of Political Ecology


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Key Words: Degrowth, environmental justice, contestation, Mexico

Abstract: In this article I explore potential synergies between degrowth and environmental justice movements, with a focus on their shared goal of inclusivity. I turn to the case of the contentious San Cristóbal-Palenque highway project in Mexico's southernmost state, Chiapas, and highlight the ability of such intersections to speak to the concerns of protesters of the initiative. Since the mid-1990s, critics of market-based development in Chiapas have provided a sustained critique of the Mexican government's growth-oriented development agenda and related conditions of poverty and inequality in the state. These critics mobilized in 2009 and 2014 to protest the construction of a mega-highway designed to enhance agribusiness and tourism in the region. This opposition finds many points of overlap with perspectives of degrowth proponents in its critique of growth-based development, and yet is rooted in a unique socio-political and historical context. Given the situated nature of this opposition, I argue that a synergistic approach that takes into account the thinking of degrowth proponents and environmental justice advocates is needed, to address the concerns of highway protesters in Chiapas whose critiques of a growth society emerged from its negative effects to which they are disproportionately exposed.

Journal of Political Ecology 24: 491-503.

This is the fourth article in Lisa L. Gezon and Susan Paulson (eds.) 2017. "Degrowth, culture and power", Special Section of the Journal of Political Ecology, 24: 425-666.

> Introduction and overview over other articles of the Special Section

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