FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AS RESISTANCE: MOCASE'S DEFENSE OF TERRITORY AND INDIGENOUS CAMPESINO KNOWLEDGE IN ARGENTINA
Description Degree awarded: M.A. School of International Service. American University Over the past six years, the convergence of the food, climate, energy, and financial crises have contributed to a new direction of global land seizures, commonly known as land grabs. The large-scale forms of current land grabs set unprecedented records in terms of their pace and scale. Extrapolating from a broad analysis of the drivers, the actors, and the land use changes of the current "land rush," the first half of the paper draws from current literature to provide a background of land grabbing in Latin America. Financial investors, agribusiness firms, foreign governments, and national elites are among the numerous actors that have exploited precarious land tenure conditions finding justification in the current global food-crisis-centric narrative. The second half of the paper further interrogates land grabs in Argentina, particularly examining soybean production in the province of Santiago del Estero. Through interviews with the agrarian social movement Movimiento Campesino de Santiago del Estero (MOCASE) in Argentina, the research aimed to understand how land grabs affect local communities and the strategies of resistance used by MOCASE. The resulting study found a discourse of resistance couched within the concept of food sovereignty. To engage farmers in the concept, the movement organized and mobilized communities to defend their territories and reclaim an indigenous collective identity. The movement works discursively and in action, by leveraging a counter-hegemonic discourse while simultaneously building an alternative agricultural model. The paper concludes with broader implications of food sovereignty on government policy and society.
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