When the marginalised raise their voices: the fight of urban agriculture groups to belong in a neoliberal Santiago

Authors: Ruth Sepulveda Marquez*, University College London
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Environmental Justice, South America
Keywords: urban agriculture, social networks, discourses, environmental justice, Santiago
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 33
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Urban agriculture emerged in Santiago in times of political conflict and has been used by the community as a platform to raise awareness about social, economic and environmental problems. The neoliberal economic and political scenario in Chile, which promotes corporatism, has constantly excluded civil society from decisions regarding sustainability and urban planning. Despite their disadvantaged position, community actors have developed their own strategies to communicate their ideas regarding problems of the environment and social inequality with urban agriculture as their fighting symbol. Due to their relegated position in the society and their work in sustainable issues, urban agriculture groups present an interesting case to understand the position and opinion of civil society in a neoliberal context. This study analyses the networks and discourses established by civil society in urban agriculture with respect to the environment and neoliberalism in Santiago. Through a study case approach with Santiago as the main research area, the study is based on the interviews of 20 groups from different municipalities in the region. The study argues that: there is a strong connection between civil society actors as they see urban agriculture as a form of social connection instead of food production, which emphasize the circularity of knowledge and experiences between actors. Instead, there is a weak connection between the civil society with the state and private sector, as groups perceive they just use sustainability as a business for its own economic benefits, are strongly influenced by capitalism and lack environmental awareness.

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