Regional Settings and Socioenvironmental Conflicts

Sociodemographic context, 'Stateness' & conflict

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Understanding the relationship between regional context and environmental conflicts

How socio-demographic, economic and political contexts interact with conflict emergence, negotiation and demobilization?

Conflict (environmental or not) always takes place in concrete contexts that generate clashes between interests, as well as costs and opportunities for collective action. The task proposed by this project is to connect this assumption with mechanisms that explain how a certain type of regional setting or territorial base for action is converted into a pattern of conflict.
In order to do so, we employ the first sub-national administrative level (states, provinces, and departments) in five South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Peru) as units of observation. Despite their peculiarities, they represent middle-income countries with a significant reliance on commodities either in the overall economy or in their exports. Some of them dependent predominantly on mining, as in the case of Chile. In others, Argentina and Brazil, agribusiness is key to understand the dynamics of neoextractivism and the resulting triggers of environmental conflict.
This research project presents four working sections or packages. The first, classification, corresponds to an effort to develop a method for systematizing differences between regions that could lead to alternative paths to conflict. It also could serve as a resource for selecting cases for in-depth analysis (as we plan to do in the third section). The second, atlas, constitutes a visual tool for representing the findings obtained in the first section and for exploring patterns of production, demographic structure and state presence in the selected areas. It also serves as a powerful instrument for analyzing regions and selecting those best fitted for comparative studies based both on most similar systems design (MSSD) and most different systems design (MDSD). The third, case studies, will examine the mechanisms conducting from a particular setting to the formation of a political arena where conflicts take place. In order to avoid deterministic results or selection biases, commonly present in this kind of study, we adopted a MSSD design of two almost identical regions, Antofagasta and Atacama in Chile. These two cases will be employed as material for an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of conflict. The fourth section, results, will gather all the data collected and disseminate the results obtained by each section or working package.

This is still a work in progress, so this webpage will be constantly updated according to our future findings and results.

Project Sections


Assigning each region to a analytically coherent setting according to its characteristics.


Representing regional settings and other sociodemographic characteristics.

Case Studies

Analyzing cases though in-depth studies on structural conditioners of socioenvironmental conflict.


Disseminating analyses, publications, and databases produced by the project.

About Us

This project is an international collaborative effort among researchers from the Compass Lab for Socio-Spatial Analysis of the University of Salamanca (Spain) and the research project (Germany).