Lithium is discursively linked with ‘sustainable’ technological innovations. Electromobility is expected to be a – still market-based and growth-centred – answer to the ecological effects of the capitalist economic system. As a result, the sharp increase in worldwide lithium mining project is a vivid example of a form of continuation of the imperial mode of living, and resistance to lithium mining is spreading in many places. Using the case studies of Salinas Grandes (Jujuy, Argentina) and Covas do Barroso (Região Norte, Portugal) as examples, this paper analyses the impacts of hegemonic development discourses along global production networks. In doing so, the concept of the ‘imperial mode of living’ helps us to understand the resistance against predominant development paradigms beyond an established Global North-Global South dichotomy. In both cases, the resistance against lithium mining illustrates not only global, but also profound intra-societal structures of inequality.
Global production networks, North-South relations, political ecology, imperial mode of living, natural resources, social-ecological inequalities