Territory and health: the historic structure of an unequal relationship perceived by the banana workers in Tenguel, Ecuador.

Authors: Patricia Polo*,
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Latin America
Keywords: territory, health, inequalities, banano, gender
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study describes how the relationship between territory and health is perceived by male and female banana workers in San Rafael, Guayas province, Ecuador, between 2000 and 2015. I focus on understanding how this group’s social relationships with other local actors emerge in the context of, perpetuate, and even adapt to mechanisms of inequality. These mechanisms of inequality include exploitation, grabbing opportunities, emulation, adaptation, hierarchical ordering, widening the gap, and exclusion. These mechanisms have been installed and maintained in the study area for some time because of the way the locality is embedded in the national political economic context. All these mechanisms harmfully affect the study group’s health as well as the territory they inhabit. Relationships that are vertical or hierarchical are the perfect structure for fostering inequitable mechanisms, and these are evidenced with the majority of actors in this study. Meanwhile, horizontal relationships generate the emergence of trust and solidarity among the banana workers and housewives who live in the community. Solidarity and trust between banana workers at the banana farm are described as superficial. This shows that the social relations are shaped by, but at the same time also shape, the territory workers inhabit. The relationship between territory and health is always being built. Historically, social structures in San Rafael have been inequitable; however, within these structures also arise values that generate happiness for living.

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