Masking the Past, Legitimizing the Present: State-Making and Precariatization in the Agro-Industrial Landscape, Colombia

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History is written by the powerful. Representations of the past are framed within the structures of the dominant institutions today, and other pasts – those of the enslaved, the marginalised, the disenfranchised – are often suppressed. Drawing of Eric Wolf’s Europe and the People Without History, this chapter explores how the fertile lands of the Cauca Valley, Colombia, have been transformed into a sugarcane monoculture landscape, and how a dominant narrative of a successful industry has been established and maintained. Based on a review of written historical material, oral histories and ethnographic fieldwork, it explores how conflicts and contestations, connections and collaborations have shaped the developments of the region, and how global forms of production have been met, resisted and adapted to locally. Drawing attention to the role of discourses and landscape interventions, the chapter illustrates how political and economic elites through history have appropriated land and labour through discourses of ‘empty land’ and ‘scarcity of labour’, as well as through landscape interventions and infrastructural developments. Meanwhile, subaltern groups have contested the changing economic and political conditions by escaping enslavement, forming independent settlements, organising labour strikes, and occupying lands to settle in the margins of the agro-industrial landscape. Though these contestations offer an alternative historical narrative of the region, the chapter points to a steady precariatization of the rural population, in which discourses and landscape interventions mask past dispossessions and legitimise the current relations of production.
Titel på värdpublikationGlobal Power and Local Struggles in Developing Countries
Undertitel på värdpublikationContemporary Perspectives On: Europe and the People without History, by Eric R. Wolf at 40
Antal sidor25
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-90-04-52792-8
ISBN (tryckt)978-90-04-52548-1
StatusPublished - 2022 dec. 15


NamnStudies in the Social History of the Global South

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Kulturgeografi


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