Dr. Örjan Bartholdson, SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)

Using two cases, Anapu and São Manoel, located in the Brazilian Amazonian, I will discuss the relationships between smallholders’ capacity for collective action, smallholders’ potential to unite and defend their territories, and the role of the state. In November 2017 a forest reserve of the settlement in Anapu was invaded by near 200 armed illegal squatters. This event resulted from of a gradual increase of internal tensions and loss of trust, thereby undermining attempts for collective action. A large reason for the lack of a functioning social network, reciprocal interactions and social trust is the migratory background of the settlers, which hinder the creation of extended kin networks, intermarriages between kin groups, as well as in other forms of long-term networks of cooperation. This becomes clear when comparing Anapu to the social organization of the settlement of São Manoel in central Maranhão, which has been strong and functional for several decades. The reasons for the latter’s social coherence and trust is that it formed around interlinked extended kin groups. The reciprocal network of São Manoel has made it possible for its settlers to use its more restricted natural resources to a sustainable extent, without negatively affecting the eco-system of their habitat. I draw on two theoretical antagonists to analyze the difference of organization between the settlements, Jean-Paul Sartre and Pierre Bourdieu.

Research seminars are open for researchers, PhD-candidates and Master students working with Latin American issues. If you are interested in participating, please contact researchseminars@lai.su.se

Organiser: Nordic Institute of Latin American Studies
Contact: researchseminars@lai.su.se
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