Planning and knowledge : industrial agriculture, Grupo de Madres de Ituzaingó Anexo and gendered community organizing




Torrado, Marla Judith

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This dissertation analyzes the planning discourse of a fragmented state and the local resistance to the expansion of genetically modified (GM) soybean production, focusing on the case of Barrio Ituazaingó Anexo in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. It illustrates how fragmentary forms of governance produce spaces for insurgent maneuvering through disjunctions in state practices. I focus on the gender-based strategies and representations that allowed a women’s group, the Grupo de Madres de Barrio Ituzaingó Anexo, to attain a degree of visibility unavailable to other groups and achieve political gains in the struggle against GM soybean. As a small, women-led community organization, the Grupo de Madres emerged more than 10 years ago when 15 women from the neighborhood grew alarmed by the great number of children and adults who were ill with cancer. Their struggle with different levels of government and the state’s vision for the planning and development of the agrarian sector as an important revenue generator is an example of the tensions between localized productions of knowledge vis-à-vis rational visions of planning. This dissertation discusses the consequences of top-down planning strategies and examines the steps needed to ameliorate negative impacts of development projects at the local level. It also presents a poignant example of gender-based organizing: despite the numerous groups that had formed in Argentina, it was this small group of women who finally was able to demonstrate how the production of genetically modified crops was literally poisoning people. The national and international visibility they gained through their struggle served to legitimize their experiences and daily routines as a valid source of knowledge. This examination of a fragmented state also reveals the opportunities bottom-up groups have when maneuvering through the system to gain access to political spaces not usually available to them. Additionally, this analysis points to the complexity of such fragmented state practices, as tensions arise when some state governmental agencies accept the situated knowledge presented by communities, while other still push against it. Lastly, this dissertation contributes to discussions on knowledge production in planning, particularly the disconnection between formal, institutionalized and science-based rationalities in planning versus informal, situated knowledge.


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