Professor Michael Hendricks shared his latest research at a Brownbag presentation titled “Religion, Resistance, and Resource Extraction in Latin America.” Hendricks and his co-authors (Moisés Arce and Bryce Reeder) argue that the literature, to date, largely ignores religion and its influences in resource-related conflicts.

They examine how religion and religious spirituality assist in organizing communities to resist mining, while helping communities sustain their resistance against extraction.

Specifically, they argue that individuals who are religious utilize the Catholic Church’s spiritual teachings as a moral framing to resist mining by involving environmental and human rights dialogues into a religious context to help protect “Mother Earth” and their own livelihoods.

Professor giving presentation

Professor Michael Hendricks

Additionally, individuals that are engaged in local religious organizations and attend church on a regular basis are more likely to have:

  1. Access to critical organizational tools and information about mining.
  2. A higher sense of self-efficacy and collective-efficacy empowering them and their communities.
  3. Stronger community worldview contributing to broad-based mobilization.

Finally, they argue that the Catholic Church provides a network of people, sources, and information between communities that diffuses anti-mining sentiments among individuals, as well as provide the necessary resources for communities to resist against extraction.