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Social Mobilization in Protest of Trans-boundary Highway Projects: Explaining Contrasting Implementation Outcomes


  • Stephen Perz

    1. is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida, 3219 Turlington Hall, PO Box 117330, Gainesville, FL 32611–7330, USA (e-mail: His research focuses on the impacts of infrastructure and climate change in the southwestern Amazon. He has over sixty peer-reviewed publications and has led several collaborative projects on environmental science and management.
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The author thanks Christine Overdevest, Charles Wood, and the journal's anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this paper. Dennis and Marilyn Perz provided selected references on the TT-35 project. This work was also supported by a US National Science Foundation Human and Social Dynamics grant #0527511. Errors are solely the responsibility of the author.


Trans-boundary highways have increasingly complemented trade agreements as instruments of global economic integration, and both have incurred political protest. This article presents a comparative analysis of two recently proposed trans-boundary highway projects, the Trans-Texas Corridor from Mexico through Texas to Oklahoma in the USA, and the Inter-Oceanic Highway in the southwestern Amazon where Bolivia, Brazil and Peru meet. The analysis focuses on the similar political contexts, justifications and funding models, as well as the contrasting political responses and implementation outcomes. The findings reveal important differences in the two cases, even among their ostensibly similar aspects, which are necessary to provide an adequate explanation as to why social mobilization stopped one project but not the other. The analysis bears implications for the social-political study of trans-boundary infrastructure as an instrument of economic globalization.