Intersectionality in rural transformation projects in Latin America's changing climate

Authors: Benjamin Warner*, University of New Mexico, Jami Gayle Nunez, University of New Mexico, Marygold Walsh-Dilley, University of New Mexico, Chris S Duvall, University of New Mexico
Topics: Latin America, Cultural and Political Ecology, Global Change
Keywords: Transformation, Latin America, Intersectionality, Agroecology, Water governance, Narco trafficking
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 6, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this paper, we will present the results of a 3-day, international workshop on rural transformation in Latin America's changing climate. In this workshop, we interrogate tensions, struggles, and barriers in transformation projects--i.e., efforts to fundamentally shift system characteristics that results in a qualitatively different system identity (Cumming et al. 2005)--in Latin American smallholder agriculture. We focus on three broad projects that claim to offer the potential for agrarian transformation to understand intersectionality in smallholder efforts to transform their worlds. These are agroecology, water governance, and narco-trafficking and drug production. The agroecological revolution has merged smallholder activism and agronomy, and underlies the vision of food sovereignty supported by La Via Campesina, which is one of the most transformative agrarian movements in Latin America (Altieri & Toledo, 2011; Martinez-Alier, 2011). However, its ability to overcome market forces, and globalization more broadly is uncertain. Contestations over water, who can access it, and how it is distributed have transformed Latin American agriculture decades (e.g. Assies, 2003; Perrault, 2005), but smallholder agency in negotiating these transformations may be limited by their inability to access institutions at larger scales. Finally, narco-trafficking and drug production is an important, if often hidden, transformative project in smallholder agriculture. Opportunities for smallholder farmers to engage in this project are at once determined by changes in the international drug trade (Dube et. al 2016), and by their willingness to engage in illicit economies. While smallholders may have agency, societal norms may require a faustian bargain to be struck.

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