Abstract:In this special issue, the focus is on the dynamics and use of participatory mechanisms related to the rapid expansion of the extractive industries worldwide and the ways it increasingly affects sensitive natural environments populated by indigenous and other marginalised populations. We offer an empirically grounded and theoretically innovative comparative analysis of practices that aim to enhance participation, negotiation and influence as a response to the expansion of extractive industries. On the one hand, we question the assumption often presented in scholarly debates that participatory processes will contribute to making environmental governance not only more legitimate and effective, but will also lead to the empowerment of marginalised social groups. On the other, we draw on our empirical studies and insights to indicate ways local groups and their allies try to gain ownership and influence decision-making through a range of related participatory mechanisms, ranging from state-led or corporation-led processes like prior consultation and FPIC, compensation practices, participatory planning exercises and the participation in environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to community-led consultations, or community-based or controlled FPIC and impact assessment processes and struggles for community-based governance of natural resource uses.
Keywords: Participation and power, resistance and activism, resources, governance