What Makes Locals Protesters? A Discursive Analysis of Two Cases in Gold-mining Industry in Turkey

ÖZEN H., Ozen S.

WORLD DEVELOPMENT, vol.90, pp.256-268, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 90
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.10.002
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.256-268
  • Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University Affiliated: Yes


This study addresses the question why a struggle emerges between local communities and mining MNCs. Many studies in the extant literature tend to explain the emergence of these struggles by relying on some "objective conditions" such as the characteristics of the industry, strategies of companies, features of community, and governmental policies. Drawing on Foucauldian and Laclauian insights, we argue that the analysis of such struggles should rather focus on meaning-making processes, through which each party to a struggle articulates surrounding conditions in particular ways, thereby giving shape to new meanings and identities. By comparatively examining Efemcukuru and copler goldmine cases from Turkey, in which a struggle emerges in the former but not in the latter in spite of similar conditions, we demonstrate that the emergence of struggles is mainly due to the construction of rival discourses that construct the issues of mining, environment, and development in highly different ways. We argue that already-prevalent conditions play a role in the emergence of struggles to the extent that they are employed, framed, and refrained in the rival anti-mining and pro-mining discourses. The argument goes further that the availability of anti-mining discourse when the local meaning systems are dislocated by the arrival of MNCs, as well as its popular appeal at the local level are critical in the emergence of local mobilizations against gold-mining. Finally, emphasis is put on the relational nature of struggle processes, where anti-mining and pro-mining discourses are mutually constituted and reconstituted through a constant reformulation of hegemonic strategies. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.