Chapter 32: From ‘participation’ to ‘negotiation’: suppressing dissent in environmental conflict resolution in Brazil
The chapter analyzes the effect of abstract global ideas on politically grounded processes in Brazil. It focuses on global environmental policies and strategies related to consensus building that are presented as solutions to environmental conflicts. It interrogates how such strategies, driven by transnational finance institutions, such as the World Bank, have been adopted by Brazilian agencies, in turn producing effects of displacement: from resistance to participation to negotiation, from justice to rights to interests, from the global to the national to the local, so that nearly everything in the process can be negotiated (rights, laws, local territory, environmental regulation and so on). If participation has been a key concept within a global sustainability paradigm, and one that seemingly responds well to calls for democracy in countries like Brazil, negotiation is the medium through which participation (therefore democracy/the political) must occur. Yet, in a process typical of coloniality of knowledge and power, dissent and alterity are sidelined. Thus participation, understood as qualified participation, ends up producing a situation in which subaltern groups are silenced and environmental inequalities are perpetuated.
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