Organising in defence of life: The emergence and dynamics of a territorial movement in Southern Chile

Maria Ehrnström-Fuentes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to examine how territorial movements, as distinct forms of place-based social movements, organise in defence of life against the threat of resource extraction on their land. Based on the experiences of Indigenous Lafkenche-Mapuche members of a protracted struggle against a pulp mill in southern Chile, the study seeks to address the following research questions: (1) How do territorial movements emerge and organise the defence of their threatened lives? and (2) How do diverging (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) territorial relations shape the dynamics of the struggle? Combining insights from Enrique Dussel’s ‘ethics of liberation’ with that of Indigenous ontologies, this study suggests that territorial movements emerge out of the awakening of a critical consciousness of the threat of death and the collective ‘desire to live’ that define the dynamics of the struggle. The findings demonstrate how the diverging territorial relations, the societally embedded ‘coloniality of power’, and the state and corporate induced violence shape the movement dynamics. Changes in the movement dynamics also occur as a result of the struggle itself, as the movement actors’ unified desire to live continuously transforms the people and shapes the territory they inhabit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-177
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • ethics of liberation
  • indigenous knowledges
  • resistance
  • social movements
  • storytelling
  • territorial struggles


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