Between hope and loss: Peruvian women activists’ visual contestations of extractive-led development

Katy Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This paper critically explores how women anti-mining activists conceptualize development, in the context of living with and resisting large-scale resource extraction in Cajamarca, Peru. I contend that participatory photography provides an opportunity to contest hegemonic development narratives and the notions of ‘lack’, ‘poverty’ and ‘progress’ that are bound up with such narratives, enabling participants to simultaneously evoke both hoped-for alternative futures and nostalgic renditions of a threatened present. Moving beyond an explicit and immediate focus on the socially and environmentally destructive nature of large-scale mining, I explore how the women instead document productive Andean livelihoods and everyday ways of life, capturing the ways in which hoped-for futures are enacted in the present. The women activists articulate their resistance through photography, identifying and celebrating practices of hope in their everyday lives and communities and providing an emotive counter-narrative to extractive-led neoliberal development discourses. The paper reveals that participatory photography approaches generate critical insight into the emotion-suffused ways in which development is understood by grassroots activists in contexts of extractivism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-67
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in Development Studies
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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