Philippine Mining Capitalism: The Changing Terrains of Struggle in the Neoliberal Mining Regime

  • Alvin Almendrala Camba Johns Hopkins University
Keywords: Mining, Philippines, Political Economy of Development, Protest Politics, Resource Conflicts

Abstract

This article analyzes how the mining sector and anti-mining groups compete for mining outcomes in the Philippines. I argue that the transition to a neoliberal mineral regime has empowered the mining sector and weakened the mining groups by shifting the terrains of struggle onto the domains of state agencies and scientific networks. Since the neoliberal era, the mining sector has come up with two strategies. First, technologies of subjection elevate various public institutions to elect and select the processes aimed at making mining accountable and sensitive to the demands of local communities. However, they often refuse or lack the capacity to intervene effectively. Second, technologies of subjectivities allow a selective group of industry experts to single-handedly determine the environmental viability of mining projects. Mining consultants, specialists, and scientists chosen by mining companies determine the potential environmental damage on water bodies, air pollution, and soil erosion. Because of the mining capital’s access to economic and legal resources, anti-mining communities across the Philippines have been forced to compete on an unequal terrain for a meaningful social dialogue and mining outcomes.

Author Biography

Alvin Almendrala Camba, Johns Hopkins University

Alvin A. Camba is a doctoral student in sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Combining detailed ethnographic fieldwork and macro-comparative methods, he focuses on analyzing historical mechanisms that embed states in and toward particular development pathways within the global circuits of capital. At the moment, he focuses on Chinese investments in Southeast Asia to make sense of the region’s emerging development dynamics.

Published
2016-06-30
How to Cite
Camba, A. A. (2016) “Philippine Mining Capitalism: The Changing Terrains of Struggle in the Neoliberal Mining Regime”, Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 9(1), pp. 69-86. doi: 10.14764/10.ASEAS-2016.1-5.
Section
Current Research on Southeast Asia