THE ENVIRONMENT AS A SPACE FOR POWER-RELATED DISPUTES. Offshore oil exploration in New Zealand: A clash between corporate interests, governmental agenda and indigenous peoples’ rights
ForfatterMoreno Ibáñez, Marta
As new technologies are developed, the operations of extractive industries are increasingly affecting indigenous peoples’ lands and natural resources. Thus, the environment has become an essential element in conflicts involving companies, governments and indigenous peoples. The main aim of this dissertation is to study, mainly through discourse analysis, how these different actors construct a particular concept of the environment to promote their interests. In concrete, the study focuses on the company Petrobras, the Government of New Zealand and the Māori people. The research is divided into two main sections. The first part consists of the analysis of the different concepts of environment elaborated by the actors, and these concepts are related to their particular interests. The second part analyses the specific case of Petrobras’ offshore oil exploration in the Raukumara Basin, an operation that encountered strong opposition from Māori communities and environmental groups. From the analysis, two main conclusions are made. First, each actor shapes the concept of environment for its own purposes, and they all use the Science knowledge discourse, whose credibility is recognised worldwide. The Māori knowledge system is mainly used by the Māori themselves to promote their right to self-determination, and sometimes by the government in an attempt to establish a positive relationship with Māori. Two main themes were found throughout all discourses, which are the consideration of the environment as both part of each actor’s identity and a resource for economic growth. All actors consider nature as an object which they can use at their will. The second main conclusion is that the environment has become a relevant space for power-related disputes. In the particular case of New Zealand, the conflict between the government and Māori is related to the long-lasting dispute between the country’s sovereign rights and the right of Māori to self-determination.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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