Irarrázaval, F (2020) Contesting uneven development: The political geography of natural gas rents in Peru and Bolivia. Political Geography (79)
Political and academic debates about the distribution of resource rents to producing areas have addressed the issue of whether or not the transfers unleash conflicts. While this kind of debate is valid, the present paper argues that such a discussion is missing the point regarding the processes behind said types of conflicts, as well as how such conflicts are framed at the sub-national political geography of the state. By more deeply exploring these dimensions, the argument of this paper is that the production of uneven development within sub-national areas is crucial for understanding the above-mentioned conflicts and how the central state internalises those conflicts, producing new political geographies of rent distribution. As such, different territorial discourses of autonomy emerge along with uneven development, but their capacity to reach institutional autonomy is grounded on the spatial politics of each state. Empirically, this paper analyses how natural gas rents are distributed to sub-national producing areas in Peru and Bolivia, and how the production of uneven development through natural gas rents at sub-national level re-activated previous territorial demands for autonomy, which were internalised by central states in different ways.