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Neogeography, development and human rights in Latin America

Book Chapter by Doug Specht, published by Institute of Commonwealth Studies
This book, edited by Malayna Raftopoulos and Radosław Powęska, offers multidisciplinary perspective on contemporary development discussions in Latin America, marked on the one hand by the pursuit of economic growth, technological improvement and poverty reduction, and on the other hand by the growing concern over the preservation of the environment and human rights. It analyses some of the crucial challenges, contradictions and promises within current development, environmental and human rights practices in Latin America. Taking a multi-level perspective that links the local, national, regional and transnational levels of inquiry, the collection approaches questions concerned with the interaction of state and non-state actors in the promotion and opposition to natural resource development and how development policies have impacted on communities in the region and the promotion and protection of human rights. By focusing on the different, though interrelated levels of interaction (local, national, transnational), as well as actors and roles, the book contemplates the complex panorama of competing visions, concepts and interests grounded in mutual influences and dependencies that are shaping the contemporary arena of social-environmental conflicts in Latin America. The multi-dimensional scope of the book demonstrates the complexity of socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America and the mutual influences and interdependencies that are shaping the contemporary arena of social-environmental conflicts in Latin America.
“This book offers an indispensable analysis of the as yet little-researched intersection of social-environmental conflicts and human rights in Latin America. The chapters offer rich and original case studies of the role of state and non-state actors in these conflicts as well as the relationship between humans and their natural environment”.
Marieke Riethof - University of Liverpool
Table of contents: 
1. Forces of resistance and human rights: deconstructing natural resource development in Latin America
Malayna Raftopoulos and Radosław Powęska
2. Indigenous rights in the era of ‘indigenous state’: how interethnic conflicts and state appropriation of indigenous agenda hinder the challenge to extractivism in Bolivia
Radosław Powęska
3. REDD+ and human rights in Latin America: addressing indigenous peoples’ concerns though the use of Human Rights Impact Assessments
Malayna Raftopoulos
4. Violence in the actions of indigenous peoples from the Amazon region as a result of environmental conflicts
Magdalena Krysińska-Kałużna
5. Neogeography, development and human rights in Latin America
Doug Specht
6. From human rights to an urbanising environmental politics: understanding flood and landslide vulnerability in Brazil’s coastal mountains
Robert Coates
7. Human rights and socio-environmental conflict in Nicaragua’s Grand Canal project
Joanna Morley
8. Sustainable development, the politics of place and decoloniality: contradictory or complementary approaches to Latin American futures?
Bogumila Lisocka-Jaegermann
Doug Specht


Doug Specht is a Chartered Geographer (CGeog. FRGS) and a Senior Lecturer (SFHEA) at the Communication and Media Research Institute, within the University of Westminster. His research examines how knowledge is constructed and codified through digital and cartographic artefacts, focusing on development issues, and he has written on this subject in numerous books and papers. He has also spoken on topics of data ethics and mapping practices at conferences and invited lectures around the world. He is a member of the editorial board at Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, and sits on BSi committee IST/36 Geographic Information, where he focuses on geographic data in the SDGs. Doug is additionally a trustee of the Santa Rosa Fund, an educational charity; and a core member of the Environmental Network for Central America.


10 January 2018
Published By
Institute of Commonwealth Studies
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