Extractive constitutions: Constitutional change and development paths in Latin America

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Under the label "New Latin American Constitutionalism", scholars have explained the emergence of new constitutions or organic constitutional reforms in the eighties and nineties and, since the 2000s, the constitutions associated with the "Left turn"in the region. Radical constitutional changes, however, have not stopped the expansion of social conflicts associated with internationally-backed extractive and infrastructure projects deemed as crucial for national development. As new processes of constitution building are gaining momentum in the region, it is crucial to investigate the reasons why societies under progressive and neoliberal constitutions suffer from similar conflicts. Drawing on decolonial theory and critically dialoguing with the literature on constitutions and development, the article proposes an analytical scheme to understand the relationship between constitutional arrangements and development in neoliberal and multicultural Peru and Colombia, and post-neoliberal and plurinational Bolivia and Ecuador. The article argues that even though these constitutions possess deep differences at the level of development discourses, strategies, and tools, they share the same development paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-200
Number of pages32
JournalLaw and Development Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston 2022.


  • extractivism
  • multiculturalism
  • neoliberalism/post-neoliberalism
  • new Latin American constitutionalism
  • plurinationalism


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