Transgenic Crops, Environmental Contamination, and Peasant (De)Mobilization in Argentina

2011 2011

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Abstract (summary)

Based on archival research and ethnographic fieldwork in northeast Argentine province of Formosa, this dissertation examines the dynamics of popular mobilization and demobilization in cases of environmental contamination. Drawing on the sweeping advance of genetically modified (GM) soybeans in Argentina I reconstruct and compare different responses of peasants to agrochemical exposures to address the following question: Why, when facing an environmental onslaught, do people from the same community sometimes react by organizing transgressive protests while at other times failing to engage in disruptive action? The analytic goal is to explain the ways in which people think, feel, and act (or fail to act) when affected by environmental problems. I argue that this variation in responses to environmental damage can be accounted for by observing three dimensions: first, the authorities' denial/acknowledgement of the environmental damage; second, activists' participation in political networks; and third, people's views on environmental damage and the effectiveness of collective action. The dissertation's Introduction elaborates the overarching argument, presents definitions of key concepts, and details the methods used for the analyses. Chapter Two discusses the relevant literatures relating to social movements, patronage politics, and biotechnology in agriculture. Chapter Three provides the background on neoliberalization processes in Argentina, the expansion of GM crops, the history of Formosa and its peasant organizations, and the communities of Monte Azul, Moreno, and Bermellon. Chapter Four presents a diachronic comparison of transgressive mobilization and demobilization in Monte Azul. Chapter Five presents a synchronic comparison of transgressive mobilization in Moreno and contained mobilization in Bermellon. Chapter Six presents an ethnography of the everyday life of a peasant organization showing the interconnections between social movements and patronage politics, two political phenomena which are usually understood as distinct and opposing spheres. The Conclusion summarizes the dissertation's main arguments and findings, and proposes avenues for future research.

Indexing (details)

Environmental Studies;
Latin American Studies;
Social structure
0477: Environmental Studies
0550: Latin American Studies
0700: Social structure
Identifier / keyword
Health and environmental sciences; Social sciences; Argentina; Demobilization; Environmental contamination; Peasant movements; Social movements; Transgenic crops
Transgenic Crops, Environmental Contamination, and Peasant (De)Mobilization in Argentina
Lapegna, Pablo
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Schwartz, Michael; Auyero, Javier
Committee member
Edelman, Marc; Roxborough, Ian
State University of New York at Stony Brook
University location
United States -- New York
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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