The not-so-Great Acceleration: Soybean boom and its logistic landscapes in the Southern Cone

Authors: Nelson Rodriguez*, University of Manchester
Topics: South America, Urban and Regional Planning, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: Logistics, Railways, Soybean, Brazil, Argentina, Fixed Capital
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Buchanan, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this presentation, I will use soybeans as a lens to investigate how the ongoing process of reprimarization of the economies in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay is redefining both regional planning and infrastructure transportation development. In particular, I focus on the re-development of railways since 1996 and the creation of logistic corridors for the soybean complex. Supported by multi-site ethnographic reflections, I argue that the soybean boom is building an authentic planetary fixed capital assemblage for logistics in which, for the first time in the region, transnational actors are engaging with nation-states to link-(delink) vast territories. The soybean boom is redefining both the rationality of decision-making procedures for infrastructure projects and deepening the territorial fragmentation that supports the "frictional" expansion of the agro-commodity frontier. My arguments draw upon official government data, infrastructure policy plans, reports, in-depth interviews with rail operator executives, portfolio investors, senior commodity traders, government regulators, consultants, civil society organisations and in-field observations.

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