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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

Second Advisor

Sonia E. Alvarez

Third Advisor

Mari Castañeda

Fourth Advisor

Millie Thayer

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation examines the symbolic and material dimensions of media power and social movement cultural production in a Latin American post-neoliberal context, through the case study of Yasunidos –an anti-extractivist, youth social movement– and its fight to stop the Ecuadorian government’s plans to drill for oil in the Yasuní region of the Amazon. The project is located within two bodies of literature: cultural analysis of social movement media and cultural production within new waves of global protest, and studies of extractivism and post-development in Latin America. It advances the concept of mediated cultural politics to tell the story of a movement that, through creative media practices, protest and direct democracy, mobilized society over these issues. At the same time, the study analyzes how a so-called progressive Latin American government uses different forms of statist media power to halt the movement. The research design includes a qualitative, mixed-methods ethnography of the movement, as well as archival work, analysis of media texts on the struggle, and visual analysis of movement-based cutlural production. The analysis reveals the contradictions of 21st century socialist states, and the implications that extractivism and statist media power have on processes of democratization in Latin America. It offers some reflections on the post-development imaginaries emerging from contemporary anti-extractivist movements.