Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Environment and Citizenship in Latin America

Environment and Citizenship in Latin America: Natures, Subjects and Struggles

Alex Latta
Hannah Wittman
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 266
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Environment and Citizenship in Latin America
    Book Description:

    Scholarship related to environmental questions in Latin America has only recently begun to coalesce around citizenship as both an empirical site of inquiry and an analytical frame of reference. This has led to a series of new insights and perspectives, but few efforts have been made to bring these various approaches into a sustained conversation across different social, temporal and geographic contexts. This volume is the result of a collaborative endeavour to advance debates on environmental citizenship, while simultaneously and systematically addressing broader theoretical and methodological questions related to the particularities of studying environment and citizenship in Latin America. Providing a window onto leading scholarship in the field, the book also sets an ambitious agenda to spark further research.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-748-6
    Subjects: Political Science, Environmental Science, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Citizens, Society and Nature: Sites of Inquiry, Points of Departure
    (pp. 1-20)
    Alex Latta and Hannah Wittman

    These words from Latin American activists remind us of something fundamental about the politics of the environment. They reaffirm that nature is not only an object of social struggle, but is also inextricably intertwined with the very voices that render the environment political. This book explores that intertwining, examining the way that socio-political subjects are mutually constituted with the ecological practices and institutions that they create, defend and reshape over time. To do so it draws on the concept of citizenship – a category of being that rests at the centre of modern forms of political order. Debates about environmental citizenship...

  5. Assembling Nature’s Citizens

    • 2 Environmental Citizenship and Climate Security: Contextualizing Violence and Citizenship in Amazonian Peru
      (pp. 23-38)
      Andrew Baldwin and Judy Meltzer

      In June 2009, thousands of indigenous peoples living in the Amazon region of Peru staged a mass protest against the Peruvian state. Led by the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP),¹ their claim was that through a series of executive decrees, the Peruvian state was bypassing its international obligations under International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169 to consult indigenous peoples on issues related to development in their ancestral territories. The decrees were put in place as measures that would fast-track oil and gas extraction in Andean Peru and were coincident with the Free Trade Agreement (FTA)...

    • 3 Multi-Scale Environmental Citizenship: Traditional Populations and Protected Areas in Brazil
      (pp. 39-58)
      Fábio de Castro

      Since the late 1980s, Brazil has been in a process of democratization where minority groups have actively demanded their rights and, in some cases, fostered institutional change to address their claims (Kingstone and Power 2000). Environmental movements and policy have been particularly relevant in this process, as rural populations have framed their discourses on environmental concerns as a matter of social justice (Hochstetler and Keck 2007). Among other initiatives, local management systems have been proposed by different groups in order to combine sustainable use of natural resources with rights to land, food security and rural development (Brown and Rosendo 2000;...

    • 4 ‘Sin Maíz No Hay País’: Citizenship and Environment in Mexico’s Food Sovereignty Movement
      (pp. 59-76)
      Analiese Richard

      The struggle for food sovereignty has become one of the most important social movements in recent Mexican history, incorporating a broad range of actors including campesinos, environmentalists, human rights activists, academics and urban consumers. Beyond food security, defined as access to adequate quantities of food,¹ proponents of food sovereignty advocate the reconfiguration of global systems of food production, distribution and consumption to enable local control over basic food supplies. Leading international advocates like La Vía Campesina and Food First assert that traditional food systems are better adapted to local environments and hence more ecologically sustainable than large-scale industrial agriculture. Food...

    • 5 Social Participation and the Politics of Climate in Northeast Brazil
      (pp. 77-94)
      Renzo Taddei

      How does one recognize citizenship, and environmental citizenship for that matter, as it exists in Latin America? As expressed by a number of the other contributions to this volume, the idea of citizenship becomes meaningful only when analysed against specific historical and institutional backgrounds. The region has experienced a wide variety of political contexts for citizenship over the past century, ranging from centralized dictatorships to relatively decentralized liberal regimes, each context making way for different kinds of political subjectivity.

      It is a given that hegemonic political agents will attempt to exert influence over the symbolic terrain upon which subject formation...

  6. Environmental Marginality and the Struggle for Justice

    • 6 Negotiating Citizenship in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala
      (pp. 97-111)
      Juanita Sundberg

      Since the mid to late 1990s, Latin American countries have witnessed new forms of environmental governance strategies (MacDonald, Nielson and Stern 1997; Roberts and Thanos 2003; Miller 2007). In particular, the number of protected areas increased significantly, prompting the creation of new environmental institutions and management rationalities (Eyre 1990; Zimmerer and Carter 2002). Given that this period coincides with the return to democratic rule in most Latin American countries, it is imperative to examine how environmental discourses and practices became articulated with processes of democratization and especially citizenship formation (García-Guadilla and Blauert 1992; Leff 1997; Wright and Wolford 2003; Castro...

    • 7 Peru’s Amazonian Imaginary: Marginality, Territory and National Integration
      (pp. 112-128)
      María Teresa Grillo and Tucker Sharon

      Official state discourse around the Peruvian Amazon has historically relied on a sort of disavowal that foregrounds otherness and waylays recognition of Amazonian voices. In contrast to the coast and coastal mestizo society, which is seen as the cradle of the nation, the Amazon has consistently been construed as a marginal and empty land in need of conquest, while the people of Amazonia have been portrayed as a problematic Other. Rather than reducing the salience of this dichotomy in the national geographic imaginary, repeated political initiatives to unify and consolidate Peruvian people and territory have in fact played into its...

    • 8 Citizenship Regimes and Post-Neoliberal Environments in Bolivia
      (pp. 129-148)
      Jason Tockman

      Amid a neoliberal project in crisis, turbulent relations between state and society in Bolivia have combined with a rapid pace of social and political change since 2000, propelling a dramatic transformation in both the contemporary citizenship regime and the character of inclusion for marginalized groups, especially indigenous peoples (Roberts 1996; Yashar 2005; Kohl and Farthing 2006; Albro 2010). The contest over citizenship is, of course, a longstanding question that involves the nature of state-society relations and how these intersect with diverse social and territorial identities in Bolivia. However, the country’s recent constitutional change, approved by popular referendum in January 2009,...

    • 9 Chile is Timber Country: Citizenship, Justice and Scale in the Chilean Native Forest Market Campaign
      (pp. 149-168)
      Adam Henne and Teena Gabrielson

      Neruda’s famous claim, ‘Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet’, is used widely in Chile by environmentalists, travel agents and chambers of commerce. In its simplicity, the line is appealing, but also deceptive. ‘The Chilean Forest’ is not by any means a single entity, and attempts to cast it in that light are deeply political projects, with serious implications for citizenship and social natures. As Bruce Braun (2002) noted in the context of Canadian forestry, the forest that is an object of forest conflicts is actually an assemblage of shifting discourses and political practices. What...

  7. Citizens, Environmental Governance and the State

    • 10 Access Denied: Urban Highways, Deliberate Improvisation and Political Impasse in Santiago, Chile
      (pp. 171-189)
      Enrique R. Silva

      Starting in the mid 1990s, the Chilean state began an entrepreneurial approach to public works planning in the Ministry of Public Works’ (MOP) infrastructure concessions system. In a relatively short period of time, the concessions system – a franchise model that allows private capital to build, operate and profit from large public works – endowed the country and its cities with thousands of kilometres of state-of-the-art highways, among other major works. Unwittingly, the concessions system also provided Chileans opportunities to practice insurgent citizenship (Holston 2008) vis-à-vis their built environment, engaging in acts of counter-politics that destabilized the socio-political order that shapes city...

    • 11 Environmental Collective Action, Justice and Institutional Change in Argentina
      (pp. 190-208)
      María Gabriela Merlinsky and Alex Latta

      As mobilization around social-environmental issues in Argentina reached new highs over the last decade, two cases are of particular significance: first, the prolonged protest by residents of a small community on the shores of the Uruguay River against the installation of pulp mills on the Uruguayan side of the watercourse; and second, the legal actions initiated by a group of residents in the Matanza-Riachuelo river basin, in Buenos Aires, claiming damages for environmental contamination of the waterway.¹ The pulp mill conflict gave a new profile to environmental issues in Argentina, and points to new modes of popular organizing in response...

    • 12 Environmentalism as an Arena for Political Participation in Northern Argentina
      (pp. 209-226)
      Brián Ferrero

      In late 2006, sixty-two families occupied lands of the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve in the province of Misiones, in northeastern Argentina. They carved plots for each family out of the forest and constructed makeshift dwellings with scrap wood and plastic bags. The illegal settlers had previously inhabited lands near the reserve for more than a decade, developing an economy based on small-scale cultivation of plots averaging twenty-five hectares per family, combining industrial crops like tobacco andyerba matewith subsistence production (Bartolome 1991; Baranger and Schiavoni 2005). The occupied lands were part of the buffer area of the reserve, privately owned...

    • 13 Legislating ‘Rights for Nature’ in Ecuador: The Mediated Social Construction of Human/Nature Dualisms
      (pp. 227-243)
      Juliet Pinto

      On 28 September 2008, Ecuadorians overwhelmingly voted to approve a new constitution that made sweeping changes in various arenas, including reformulating political power structures, creating new social sectors in public programs and establishing an ambitious new set of environmental rights. With these reforms, and the referendum that passed them, President Rafael Correa made good on key promises that had helped him ride a wave of popular mobilizations into electoral victory in late 2006. As many news outlets observed, the resounding support for the constitutional proposals could be linked to widespread voter discontent with corruption and weak state regulation, as well...

  8. List of Contributors
    (pp. 244-246)
  9. Index
    (pp. 247-254)