Resource extractivism in Latin America and the Maghreb: the dark side of the ecological transition?

What is it about?

Resource extractivism characterizes the reality of many countries in the Global South. They pursue a development model aimed at the extraction and export of raw materials. Extractivism is risky and dirty; it makes people internationally dependent and destroys nature. Above all, however, it is big business and therefore highly lucrative. Entire societies reproduce themselves through these raw material revenues. Latin America and the Maghreb are examples of this.

We want to understand the special and different patterns of raw material societies in politics, economics, society and culture. This can form the basis for cooperation that does not pin the countries of the Global South down to the export of raw materials, but instead considers options for social and ecological balance, economic development and the strengthening of democracy. Our research with the Maghreb and Latin America is therefore conducted on an equal footing.

Project title & duration

Resource extractivism in Latin America and the Maghreb: the dark side of the ecological transition?
Duration: until July 2027 (extension under review)

Thesis/ further detailed information

We are on the way to a post-fossil energy age. This has huge implications for the global demand for raw materials. What will countries like Venezuela, Algeria, Saudi Arabia - or Russia - do when they can no longer sell oil or gas in 30 years' time? And what will happen to countries like Chile and Bolivia, which will multiply their income thanks to their copper or lithium reserves? Our sustainability strategies will create new winners and losers. The change in commodity regimes also provokes international crises. Today we are very aware of this, especially because of the war in Ukraine. Our project seeks answers to these questions through broad cooperation on the ground and intensive dialog with both regions.

Video about the research project


The Political Economy of Extractivism
Global Perspectives on the Seduction of Rent
Edited By Hannes Warnecke-Berger, Jan Ickler
Published July 21, 2023 by Routledge

Publication: Zum Verlag

Funding body