Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador (Duke University Press, 2020) by former Visiting Fellow Thea Riofrancos (2014-15) has received an honorable mention for the 2022 Bryce Wood Book Award. Presented annually by the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) at its International Congress, the Bryce Wood Book Award recognizes an outstanding book on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities published in English.
The book unpacks the conflict between the two leftist factions of Ecuador that developed after 2007 due to conflicts over the issue of extraction of natural resources. On the one hand, the administration's resource nationalism and focus on economic development, and on the other, the anti-extractivism of grassroots activists who condemned the government's disregard for nature and indigenous communities.
In this archival and ethnographic study, Riofrancos expands the study of resource politics by de-centering state resource policy and locating it in a field of political struggle populated by actors with conflicting visions of resource extraction. She demonstrates how Ecuador's commodity-dependent economy and history of indigenous uprisings offer a unique opportunity to understand development, democracy, and the ecological foundations of global capitalism.
"Resource Radicals will be a key text in the expanding genealogy of extractivism in the Americas, particularly for the light it sheds on how competing understandings of the state and of neoliberalization shape sociopolitical and ecological relationships to development," stated Donald V. Kingsbury, Latin American Research Review, in his review of the book.
Riofrancos is an associate professor of political science at Providence College, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow (2020-2022), and a member of the Climate + Community Project.