Norm Contestation and (Non-)Compliance: The Right to Prior Consultation and FPIC in the Extractive Industries

  • Almut Schilling-VacaflorEmail author
Part of the Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Rights book series (CHREN, volume 3)


This chapter scrutinizes norm contestation over the right to prior consultation and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and argues that the lack of a shared understanding of this norm substantially contributes to the widespread non-compliance with this right. The analysis focuses on the contested social practices with regard to the regulation and implementation of the consultation and consent right in the extractive industries. The paper’s theoretical framework draws on and contributes to debates on norm contestation and norm compliance led by scholars of international relations and on the practice of human rights led by legal anthropologists. As Bolivia, Colombia and Peru are the Latin American countries that have implemented prior consultation processes with indigenous and African-American communities in their extractive industries most systematically, the chapter is mainly based on empirical data from these countries. This study finds that divergent claims of authority, territorial control and decision-making coexist within the analysed domestic contexts and that these divergences lie at the root of the fierce contestations over indigenous participatory rights. In addition, such divergent claims or competing resource sovereignties are embedded within power asymmetries that clearly work in favour of strategic economic interests to extract natural resources and disadvantage strong indigenous and participatory rights. I argue that the contestations concerning the right to prior consultation and FPIC are so profound that under current conditions the emergence of a shared understanding of this norm is very improbable.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Osnabrück University, Institute for Social SciencesOsnabrückGermany

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