Date of Award

June 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Tom Perreault

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


The results of this thesis are presented as two papers. The objective of the first paper was to understand to what degree the new energy policy implemented in 2014 in Chile, and the boom in renewable energy investments that resulted from this policy, were related to the interests of the mining industry. This paper ("Limits of Low-Carbon Transitions in Neoliberal Energy Governance: The Case of Chile") is based on the fieldwork conducted in 2017, when I interviewed policy makers and representatives of the private sector associated with energy and mining in Chile. The second paper ("Hegemony and Passivity: Understanding the Lack of Overt Forms of Mining Conflicts in North-central Chile") is based on the ethnography that I conducted in 2014 in the Choapa Valley in north-central Chile, where the mining company Antofagasta Minerals runs one of the largest mining operations in the country, Los Pelambres. I interviewed different inhabitants of Choapa to understand how the socioenvironmental transformations that have occurred since 2000, when the operations of this company began, are experienced in their everyday lives. In these two papers, I move from a more macro perspective, using the literature on environmental governance and political economy to study energy regimes and neoliberal policies, to a more micro analysis, interpreting the subtleties in everyday practices in a mining community.


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