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Fictions of Sovereignly: Of Prosthetic Petro-Capitalism, Neoliberal States, and Phantom-Like Citizens in Ecuador

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Abstract

This article explores how rights and accountability are produced and erased under neoliberal regimes. It examines a class-action law suit against Texaco Inc. filed in the U.S. on behalf of 30,000 campesinos and indígenas from the Ecuadorian Amazon. The $1.5 billion lawsuit alleged that over 25 years of environmental contamination from Texaco operations exposed local inhabitants to lethal toxins. By probing the connections between what the author terms the prosthetics of corporate capitalism and the phantomness of citizenship, the articles suggests that formal membership in a nation-state is not a sufficient, or necessary condition for substantive citizenship in Ecuador. By suing Texaco in New York, phantom citizens nurtured the possibility of inhabiting an alternative anatomy as political subjects and held out the possibility of an expanded jurisdiction for righting wrongs.

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