Xaquín S. Pérez-Sindín

Xaquín S. Pérez-Sindín

Guest researcher

I am a sociologist studying land development - altering the landscape in any number of ways – and its governance within a broad political ecology perspective. I am interested in the discursive aspects of conflicts over how best to use land. On the one hand, I study which forms of knowledge play a role, dominating narratives and how they tend to be promoted by actors with certain interests and positions of power. On the other hand, I am interested in probing the empirical basis of such narratives, which implies both socio-economic quantitative analysis and interdisciplinary work involving geoscience, geology and engineering. The main themes I have worked on are energy and extractive industries in rural Galicia, Spain, post-industrial landscapes in Spain and Germany and real estate development in Spain and Poland.

Currently, I am working on conflicts around the extraction and transportation of coal in Colombia. Coal represents 2% of the Colombian GDP and it is heavily concentrated in two regions: El Cesar and La Guajira. Leaning on semi-structure interviews and survey, I look at how the things are organized in the communities near the sites of extraction, dominant discourse and resistance. In collaboration with geoscientist and experts in Earth Observation methods, I am testing local resource curse theory by using nighttime lights intensity as an economic indicator (DMSP and VIIRS data (1992-2017)). It is important to note that coal from Colombia represents 21% total EU-28 solid fuels (Eurostat 2017) and it has been considered a key element to keep European thermal plants afloat. This means that my work is influenced by and aims to influence global value change studies and telecoupling, an emerging approach that look at socioeconomic and environmental interactions between distant coupled human and natural systems in the globalized era.

I am interested in both empirical/theoretical collaborations related to any of the above topics, especially conflicts over old (coal) and new (wind) energy resources.

I often engage in discussion and/or collaborations with communities and activists in the identification of possible appropriate and legitimate political and legal responses to the worst social and environmental consequences of certain land developments. I also provide public institutions with advice about socio-spatial aspects of development: the governance of boom/bust in natural resources dependent communities and the social adaptation of new energy projects (i.e. wind farms) in a context of decarbonisation and ecological crisis.

ID: 200169532