Reproductive Work, Territorial Commons and Political Precarity in Peripheral Extractive Sites in Ecuador and Bolivia


  • Cristina Cielo FLACSO sede Ecuador
  • Elizabeth López Canelas Territorios en Resistencia and CLACSO



This article examines the labour and political dimensions of non-salaried women workers in the extractive peripheries of Bolivia and Ecuador, to show how the appropriation of racialised and gendered work is a foundational aspect of the extractive logic of capital. We consider extraction in its broadest sense as the dispossession not only of resources but also of informal and reproductive work, and examine the ways in which the territorialised commons produced by, and necessary for, the interdependent activities to sustain life also form the basis of political identification and organisation. Territories as the making of places are fundamental for the constitution of marginalised collective identities. In peripheral sites where extractive logics have been socio-culturally and institutionally established, the literal and figurative common grounds for women’s social reproduction are reduced, individualising livelihoods and increasing physical, economic and subjective vulnerability. As such, the extraction of resources and of territorialised networks intersects with the historical appropriation of reproductive work to configure both material and political precarity.

KEYWORDS: informal work; reproductive labour; extractivism; territory; commons

Author Biographies

Cristina Cielo, FLACSO sede Ecuador

Cristina Cielo is a Professor-Researcher in the Sociology and Gender Studies Department of the Latin American Faculty for Social Sciences (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador. Her most recent research projects have explored the transformation of care in extractive sites, economies of knowledge in the global south, and the political possibilities of popular economies. She is currently working on the book Diverse Commons: Property, Water and Politics in the Urban Andes.

Elizabeth López Canelas, Territorios en Resistencia and CLACSO

Elizabeth Lopez Canelas is an anthropologist with a Master’s in Environmental Planning and Development from FLACSO. She is an independent researcher and defender of women and indigenous people’s socio-environmental rights threatened by the extractive mining industry. She is currently a researcher for a project funded by the Latin American Council for Social Sciences (CLACSO).