An intersectional approach to energy justice: Individual and collective concerns around wind power on Zapotec land

Adolfo Mejia-Montero*, Kirsten E. H. Jenkins, Dan van der Horst, Matthew Lane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, utility-scale wind power developments are hotly contested. Steady local resistance is presented by indigenous and peasant “anti” wind power groups, whilst “pro” wind local stakeholders, including many landowners, are perceived as antagonistic to the arrival of wind power. Engaging the energy justice literature and in applying a novel intersectionality approach, this paper presents an exploration of the diverse voices involved, problematising seemingly “rival” discourses in the indigenous town of Union Hidalgo. The research explores how issues of energy justice are intertwined with elements including ethnicity, class, gender, age, power, and the treatment of more-than-humans. Using a mixed methods approach that draws on concept mapping and semi-structured interviews, this paper aims to understand to what extent the lens of intersectionality serves to blur the boundaries between ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ voices. It does so by illustrating and discussing how Propietarios (“pros”) and Comuneros (“antis”) articulate different constructs of energy justice according to varying intersectional positionalities both as groups, and as individuals. Empirically, the paper enriches the literature on local opposition to utility-scale wind power from a non-Western perspective and deepens the exploration of the case study of utility wind power in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Conceptually, it advances the use of intersectional approaches in energy justice, advocating for their role in connecting energy justice theory with deeper understandings of individual and collective stances in renewable energy development contestations. This, in turn, offers opportunities to further conceptualise how to achieve energy justice for these communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103015
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 8 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • intersectionality
  • energy justice
  • non-Western
  • Mexico
  • wind power


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