Demanding rights in company-community resource extraction conflicts: examining the cases of Vedanta and POSCO in Odisha, india

Kate Macdonald, Shelley Marshall, Samantha Balaton-Chrimes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Amidst intensified competition for land available to private investors in mining, industrial and commercial agriculture sectors, contests between transnational companies and communities over land are emerging in many countries as a significant domain of social conflict. This chapter examines the cases of two company-community conflicts over land in the Indian State of Odisha, in which communities and their supporters have mobilized to resist proposed new projects, drawing in various ways on rights-based discourses to articulate and support their claims. One conflict relates to the acquisition of land for a bauxite mining project involving the Indian-based and UK-listed company Vedanta, while the other concerns the construction of a mega steel complex by the South Korean company POSCO. We compare the strategies of mobilization and claim-making followed by communities in the two cases, asking why there have been different outcomes in these two conflicts despite striking similarities between them. We argue that the different dynamics and outcomes in the two cases have resulted from (sometimes subtle) differences between the cases with respect to in a combination of three factors: (a) the strength of local solidarity and organizational capacity, (b) the capacity of campaigners to recruit national political and civil society elites in support of community claims, and (c) the extent to which grassroots claims have been supported by transnational mobilization. Taken together, these three factors highlight the central importance of interactions between grassroots mobilization and the political actions of national and international ‘elites’ in shaping outcomes of company-community conflicts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDemanding Justice in The Global South
EditorsJean Grugel, Jewellord Nem Singh, Lorenza B. Fontana, Anders Uhlin
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783319388212
ISBN (Print)9783319388205
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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