Chemical warfare in Colombia, evidentiary ecologies and senti-actuando practices of justice

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Between 1994 and 2015, militarized aerial fumigation was a central component of US-Colombia antidrug policy. Crop duster planes sprayed a concentrated formula of Monsanto’s herbicide, glyphosate, over illicit crops, and also forests, soils, pastures, livestock, watersheds, subsistence food and human bodies. Given that a national peace agreement was signed in 2016 between FARC-EP guerrillas and the state to end Colombia’s over five decades of war, certain government officials are quick to proclaim aerial fumigation of glyphosate an issue of the past. Rural communities, however, file quejas (complaints or grievances) seeking compensation from the state for the ongoing effects of the destruction of their licit agro-forestry. At the interfaces of feminist science and technology studies and anthropology, this article examines how evidentiary claims are mobilized when war deeply politicizes and moralizes technoscientific knowledge production. By ethnographically tracking the grievances filed by small farmers, I reveal the extent to which evidence circulating in zones of war – tree seedlings, subsistence crops, GPS coordinates and bureaucratic documents – retains (or not) the imprints of violence and toxicity. Given the systematic rejection of compensation claims, farmers engage in everyday material practices that attempt to transform chemically degraded ecologies. These everyday actualizations of justice exist both alongside and outside contestation over the geopolitically backed violence of state law. Rather than simply contrasting everyday acts of justice with denunciatory claims made against the state, farmers’ reparative practices produce an evidentiary ecology that holds the state accountable while also ‘senti-actuando’ (feel-acting) alternative forms of justice.

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... Thus, these approaches have also overlooked the role of non-humans in peace processes. This contrasts starkly to what other anthropological studies have proposed inspired by the social studies of science, technology, and posthuman perspectives: non-humans are key actors of war and peace (Lederach 2019;Lyons 2014Lyons , 2016Lyons , 2018aLyons , 2018bPinto 2019;Ruiz Serna 2017). ...
... The question about how non-humans take part in peace is not new. Several authors have contributed to this topic from different positions (Lederach 2019;Lyons 2014Lyons , 2016Lyons , 2018aLyons , 2018bPinto 2019;Ruiz-Serna 2017;Tobón 2010). I want to add to this perspective by including care theory to think about relationships between humans and non-humans. ...
... Beyond a peace agreement and its legal definitions, in this particular case, peace operates in a space where relationships that have kept military and frailejones together for years are flourishing in a new context. Kristina Lyons's work on soils (2014;2018a) has explored further these ideas about mutual care relationships, documenting the political and economic dimensions of relationships between humans and nonhumans. Instead of focusing on the infinite number of breakups and deaths that result from glyphosate aspersion in Putumayo, she finds in the land practices followed by small peasant farmers multiple possibilities of life that paradoxically go through processes of natural decomposition and death (Lyons 2016). ...
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This article argues that the definition of peace from the international agendas on transitional justice and peacebuilding falls short because it ignores non-humans. Consequently, in the discussions on the environment for peace, non-humans are simply called “environment”, regardless of non-humans’ relationships that also make peace. Based on an ethnographic case, I explore the relationship between the military from the High Mountain Battalion N.° 1 and the frailejones (espeletia) in the Sumapaz páramo in Colombia to demonstrate how their practices of mutual care become other ways of making and understanding peace.
... En particular, desde la antropología que estudia procesos transicionales, es importante una mirada "desde abajo" (Castillejo-Cuéllar 2014;Gómez 2013;Lundy y McGovern 2008;McEvoy y McGregor 2008). Sin embargo, la mirada desde debajo de los estudios sobre justicia transicional se enfoca en la víctima (Aldana 2006;Robins 2011;, ubicándola en el centro de la discusión, y no se ha propuesto analizar la posición de no-humanos frente a procesos de paz, como sí lo han hecho, por el contrario, aproximaciones que utilizan los estudios de ciencia y tecnología y estudios poshumanos como mecanismo de indagación (Lederach 2017;Lyons 2014;2018a;2018b;Pinto 2019;Ruiz Serna 2017). Así que este es también un ejercicio en esa dirección. ...
... El trabajo de Kristina Lyons con relación al suelo (2014;2018a) ha llevado estas ideas sobre las relaciones mutuas de cuidado a una exploración adicional, en donde ella da cuenta de las posibilidades políticas y económicas en las que están inmersas diferentes relaciones entre humanos y no-humanos. En vez de concentrase en las infinitas rupturas y muertes que podría generar la política de aspersión con glifosato en una región del Putumayo, encuentra, en las practicas con la tierra de pequeños campesinos, múltiples posibilidades de vida que paradójicamente pasan por procesos naturales de descomposición y políticas de muerte (Lyons 2016). ...
... El caso etnográfico en este artículo podría ser una isla en una política amplia de militarización de la naturaleza (Lyons 2018a). Se trata de algo que el anterior viceministro de defensa, Aníbal Fernández de Soto (2018) -mientras se refería a un público vestido en uniformes militares de distintas unidades en la Feria Internacional del Medio Ambiente, fima-denominó como la nueva función de las fuerzas militares en el posconflicto: la protección de la riqueza natural del país. ...
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Este artículo argumenta que la definición de paz de las agendas internacionales sobre justicia transicional y construcción de paz se queda corta al no contemplar a los no-humanos. Por tanto, en las discusiones sobre medio ambiente para la paz, los no-humanos simplemente reciben el nombre de “ambiente”, sin tener en cuenta las relaciones más que humanas que también construyen la paz. Para sustentar mi argumento, en este texto me baso en un ejemplo etnográfico sobre la relación entre militares y frailejones en el Batallón de Alta Montaña N.° 1, en el páramo de Sumapaz, para mostrar de qué manera las prácticas de mutuo cuidado conforman otras maneras de hacer y entender la paz.
... Nor are such forms of evidence required for action (Calvillo, 2018). A pair of the articles in the issue even eschew representational premises for action and instead engage in the mundane, boring, everyday chores of care -cleaning tomatoes and tending plants -demonstrate how toxic politics that do not have publics or controversies manifest (Lyons, 2018;Tironi, 2018). Overall, the articles articulate a range of toxic politics that engender a diversity of justices, scales of agency and relations to power to diversify concepts of what counts as politics in a permanently polluted world. ...
... In economics, toxicants in the wild are called externalities, entities that escape the cost and profit calculations of business accounting. But toxicants also 'produce "invisible opportunities" for capital accumulation and other consolidations of power' (Ofrias, 2017: 16), such as through dispossession of land via 'accumulation by degradation' where land is lost and gained because of its contamination (Johnson, 2010;Leifsen, 2017;Lyons, 2018;Perreault, 2012), the production of race and racism via differential contamination (Bullard, 1993;Pulido, 2015Pulido, , 2016Voyles, 2015) as well as gender differences via care roles and 'domestic' epistemologies of everyday toxicity (Kimura, 2016;Scott, 2015;Tironi, 2018), and heteronormativity via discourses of what counts as toxic reproductive harm (Ah-King and Hayward, 2013;Di Chiro, 2010;Scott, 2009), among many other examples of how pollution and toxicity accrue value and meaning to dominant structures, even as many acts of environmental activism aim to challenges those same structures. ...
... On the contrary, most refer to all three. We are 'hesitant to altogether dismiss people's attempts to contest the law of the state or to seek normative modes of corrective power' (Lyons, 2018) given that science, policy, and democracy are dominant modes of ordering the world (Calvillo, 2018). They are embroiled in most of the case studies of toxicity in this issue as well as how most modes of agency against toxicity are encountered and understood. ...
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Toxicity has become a ubiquitous, if uneven, condition. Toxicity can allow us to focus on how forms of life and their constituent relations, from the scale of cells to that of ways of life, are enabled, constrained and extinguished within broader power systems. Toxicity both disrupts existing orders and ways of life at some scales, while simultaneously enabling and maintaining ways of life at other scales. The articles in this special issue on toxic politics examine power relations and actions that have the potential for an otherwise. Yet, rather than focus on a politics that depends on the capture of social power via publics, charismatic images, shared epistemologies and controversy, we look to forms of slow, intimate activism based in ethics rather than achievement. One of the goals of this introduction and its special issue is to move concepts of toxicity away from fetishized and evidentiary regimes premised on wayward molecules behaving badly, so that toxicity can be understood in terms of reproductions of power and justice. The second goal is to move politics in a diversity of directions that can texture and expand concepts of agency and action in a permanently polluted world.
... Alongside Lyons's (2018) critique of Colombia's offi cial compensatory regimes, Fabiana Li (2009), Daniel Renfrew (2013Renfrew ( , 2017Renfrew ( , 2018, Peter C. Little (2019), and Angeliki Balayannis (2020) document how top-down and technocratic processes of accountability both fail to curb petrochemical corporate power and allow government actors to shirk responsibility, all the while maintaining an illusion of action. As Li writes of Environmental Impact Assessments: "Couched in a language of transparency, environmental management, and democratic participation, these practices are both pervasive and diffi cult to criticize" (2009: 219). ...
... In response to government officials moving air pollution monitors so that less was offi cially tallied, Madrid residents acted in collective ways to "shift the focus from asking 'what is toxic?' to asking 'what do we need to know about the toxic to act?'" (Calvillo 2018: 374). Resonant with Lyons (2018), Manuel Tironi (2018) highlights "intimate" forms of activism, documenting the small yet powerful acts of care-work-as-resistance that marginalized Chilean residents engage in, such as cleaning chemical residues off their tenderly cultivated gardens or healing their loved ones' toxicant-induced ailments. Tironi urges EJ advocates to acknowledge these "hypo-interventions" and "intimate activism" as care-full forms of everyday resistance to the unavoidable, unending crises of permanent pollution. ...
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This article reviews interdisciplinary toxicity literature, building from Gerald E. Markowitz and David Rosner’s “deceit and denial” and Phil Brown’s “contested illnesses” to argue for a third, more critical analytic that I term “empire and empirics.” Deceit and denial pit corporate actors against antitoxins advocates, while contested illnesses highlight social movements. Empire and empirics center the role of imperialism in reproducing today’s unevenly distributed toxic exposures. I find this third path the most generative because the products and the production of science—toxicants and toxicology—are situated in their sociohistorical, politico-economic, ecological, and affective contexts. Revealing the imperialist logics embedded into dominant ontoepistemology also illuminates alternative, liberatory pathways toward more environmentally just futures. I close with examples of “undisciplined” action research, highlighting scholar-practitioners who study toxicity with care and in nonhierarchical collaboration. While undisciplining is challenging, its potential for realizing environmental justice far outweighs the difficulties of doing science differently.
... Los grupos paramilitares convirtieron los ríos en fosas comunes; desaparecieron a sus víctimas en las corrientes e impactaron de manera dramática los modos de vida de comunidades pescadoras y ribereñas. La policía antinarcóticos, con apoyo financiero y presión geopolítica estadounidense, fumigó más de 1,8 millones de hectáreas de coca ilícita desde 1994 mediante la aspersión aérea con glifosato, envenenando bosques, suelos, potreros, fuentes de agua y cultivos de subsistencia, y poniendo en riesgo la salud transgeneracional de la población rural (Camacho y Mejía 2015;Lyons 2018). Finalmente, como ha demostrado el trabajo de Daniel Ruiz (2017), la guerra ha desplazado espíritus protectores de las selvas y montañas, lo cual ha generado desequilibrio, escasez y crisis en las prácticas cotidianas y condiciones de existencia de diversos mundos rurales. ...
... En otros trabajos he mostrado etnográficamente cómo las huellas de esta violencia y de la toxicidad quedan registradas por medio de "ecologías probatorias" (evidentiary ecologies) que responsabilizan al Estado y a la corporación multinacional Monsanto, al mismo tiempo que los territorios intentan recuperarse de años de degradación química (Lyons 2018). El ecólogo evolutivo William Balée (2013) ha escrito que los bosques configuran un gran archivo arqueológico que alberga inscripciones, historias y memorias en la vida vegetal misma. ...
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En Colombia hay un creciente debate público sobre el reconocimiento de la naturaleza como víctima de la guerra y sobre las consecuentes acciones de reparación en el marco del pos-Acuerdo de Paz y la justicia transicional. Estas incluyen la llamada “reconstrucción de la memoria ambiental” de la guerra. A partir de un proyecto de reconstrucción de memoria socioecológica de la cuenca del río Mandur, en Puerto Guzmán, Putumayo, este artículo argumenta cómo un proyecto comunitario de investigación acción participativa sobre la memoria del conflicto y su relación con la degradación socioambiental constituye una estrategia metodológica alternativa para la reconciliación y la construcción de paz territorial. Así mismo, propone que este ejercicio es necesario para la construcción de una “reconciliación profunda” a partir del mejoramiento de los conflictos.
... In investigating the relationship of violence and agrobiodiversity and the implications for territorial peace in Colombia, this article offers a critical contribution to this gap in the literature. 1 In challenging the grounds on which violence is defined and recognized, this article contributes to recent work that investigates how violence is intertwined with the destruction of territories (Lederach, 2017;Ruiz Serna, 2017;Lyons, 2016Lyons, , 2018Meszaros Martin, 2018;Van Dexter, 2021). It further considers how agrobiodiversity constitutes a response to this violence and the conditions in which peace in the territory germinates. ...
This article investigates how violence is intertwined with agrobiodiversity and the implications for “territorial peace” in Colombia. Our investigation is situated within the context of campesinos’ defense of their territories and struggles over seeds. “Territorial peace” involves the imposition of agro-industrial development onto territories. Its implementation is intertwined with increasing violence including the killings of campesinos and defenders of their territories. This violent peace also involves the control of seeds and campesinos’ agriculture, contributing to the loss of life-giving agrobiodiversity of these territories. This ultimately threatens the possibilities of a peace. Grounding the notion of peace within the territory, the article turns to how campesinos’ cultivation of agrobiodiversity contributes to the conditions in which peace germinates. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in Putumayo, Colombia, it describes how campesinos cultivate peace in soils sedimented with violence through the reparation of campesinos’ relations with Amazonian agrobiodiversity. This is a way of grounding campesinos within the life of the selva Amazónica. For these campesinos, who call themselves “selvasinos,” Amazonian farming is a political proposal that confronts ongoing violence, including the imposition of agro-industrial development imposed onto the territory. It is a defense of their territory which translates into the defense of life and the construction of “territorial peace” grounded in the life of the selva.
... At circle 3's interstices, we fi nd a growing body of work on what Max Liboiron and colleagues (2018) call "slow activism, " a broad mode of response that combines a feminist understanding of everyday, embodied politics of care with a critical STS perspective on how technocratic protocols defuse resistance to toxic harm. Slow activism includes "forms of action that blur the difference between activism and everyday practices" (2018: 342), such as when Colombian farmers work to heal their land from the injuries of chemical warfare even as they struggle to achieve restitution in the courts (Lyons 2018). But slow activism also includes more expressly 'political' eff orts by communities to assemble evidence of toxic harm and to recruit accomplices in the pursuit of justice (Ahmann 2018). ...
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In a world saturated by toxic substances, the plight of exposed populations has figured prominently in a transdisciplinary body of work that we call political ecologies of toxics. This has, in turn, sparked concerns about the unintended consequences of what Eve Tuck calls “damage-centered research,” which can magnify the very harms it seeks to mitigate. Here, we examine what political ecologists have done to address these concerns. Beginning with work that links toxic harm to broader forces of dispossession and violence, we turn next to reckonings with the queerness, generativity, and even protectiveness of toxics. Together, these studies reveal how the fetishization of purity obscures complex forms of toxic entanglement, stigmatizes “polluted” bodies, and can thereby do as much harm as toxics themselves. We conclude by showing, in dialog with Tuck, how a range of collaborative methodologies (feminist, decolonial, Indigenous, and more-than-human) have advanced our understanding of toxic harm while repositioning research as a form of community-led collective action.
... "In each biological group there is a name reserved with the word peace for any new species to be found", explained one of the leading biologists during the expedition. I'm unsure whether Carl Linnaeus, who introduced the system for naming species in the 18 th century, thought of the naming laws to include political considerations, but it's interesting how peace as war, moralizes and politicizes technoscientific knowledge production (Lyons, 2018). At the first of Colombia Bio expeditions, the lead botanist of the expedition discovered a new species for science: a plant of the family of Elaeagia, of which there are seven species in Colombia and is related to the coffee plants family. ...
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After the signature of the peace treaty with the FARC guerrilla [Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia], the Colombian government ended a 60-year conflict with one of the oldest guerrilla movements in the world. Alongside the signature of the peace treaty began a national project to conduct biological inventories of species through a series of expeditions called "Colombia Bio". The idea behind these expeditions is to explore and register biodiversity in places formerly occupied by the FARC. I accompanied five of these expeditions as an anthropologist. My interest has been to understand the relationship between science and peace as they are specifically enacted in the post-conflict moment. More specifically, I aim to explore how concepts of biodiversity and transitional justice become intertwined in this particular scenario, bringing new understandings of peace and on the relation with nature in a post-conflict scenario.
... Activists and victims have also been able to devise new methods of data gathering and toxic evidence-making, which are aimed at enforcing reparative and transformative actions and alternative forms of justice. 80 historical activism are in motion). 81 Moreover, the hazards caused by pesticides are usually imposed on marginalized groups, so we are unlikely to find their voices in government archives or other historical sources. ...
Particulate matter (a key contributor to poor air quality) was central to the most far‐reaching deregulatory actions of the Trump EPA and as such became a key mechanism through which fossil fuels saturate and racialise deregulatory knowledge. This article introduces particulate matter as a problem of fossil fuel combustion and leading cause of death that—given well‐known racial disparities in exposure—is at the heart of today’s racist politics of breathing. It then traces particulate matter through the Trump EPA’s efforts to remake regulatory science, including through expansive measures not directly about air quality. It is not just that particulate matter is an effect of deregulation but that it served as a mechanism for a wider deregulatory apparatus. The article then elaborates on the significance of particulate matter in the suffocating nature of racism to argue that these actions entrench racist calculations of whose lives matter within the EPA’s regulatory apparatus.
Este ensayo navega a través de los bosques vivos de la Amazonía colombiana, reflexionando sobre lo que hemos heredado en tiempos de la así llamada “paz”, a medida que esta se desarrolla en un contexto de creciente violencia y deforestación. La firma del Acuerdo de Paz en Colombia, en 2016, marcó el fin de una guerra de décadas entre el gobierno y las Farc, pero también supuso otra guerra contra la selva. Este ensayo se basa en una investigación etnográfica en Putumayo, Colombia, para explorar cómo la selva ha participado como víctima y testigo de la violencia, a la vez que llama la atención sobre las formas en que las vidas (y muertes) humanas y no humanas están inevitablemente entrelazadas en la forja de la paz.
One concern in the field of drugs policy is how to make research more futures-oriented. Tracing trends and events with the potential to alter drug futures are seen as ways of becoming more prepared. This challenge is made complex in fast evolving drug markets which entangle with shifting social and material relations at global scale. In this analysis, we argue that drugs policy research orientates to detection and discovery based on the recent past. This narrows future-oriented analyses to the predictable and probable, imagined as extensions of the immediate and local present. We call for a more speculative approach; one which extends beyond the proximal, and one which orientates to possibilities rather than probabilities. Drawing on ideas on speculation from science and technology and futures studies, we argue that speculative research holds potential for more radical alterations in drugs policy. We encourage research approaches which not only valorise knowing in relation to what might happen but which conduct experiments on what could be. Accordingly, we trace how speculative research makes a difference by altering the present through making deliberative interventions on alternative policy options, including policy scenarios which make a radical break with the present. We look specifically at the ‘Big Event’ and ‘Mega Trend’ as devices of speculative intervention in futures-oriented drugs policy research. We illustrate how the device of Mega Trend helps to trace as well as to speculate on some of the entangling elements affecting drug futures, including in relation to climate, environment, development, population, drug production, digitalisation, biotechnology, policy and discourse. [255]
Recent anthropological attention to more‐than‐human life has neglected the importance of race and racialization in human responses to environmental change. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with waste management institutions and Romani waste laborers in urban Bulgaria, this article invokes the concept of the racialized Anthropocene to destabilize the unmarked whiteness upon which the turn to humans‐as‐a‐species—anthropos—is founded. Habituation is central to both EU waste policy and the generative strategies Romani street sweepers use to manage accumulated waste and the conditions of their racialized labor. I call these creative and quotidian strategies anthropogenic management. Anthropogenic management disrupts the resiliency paradigm that has become commonplace in analyses of how people respond to circumstances not of their own making. As such, it bridges the Anthropocene, marked by waste accumulation at a planetary scale, with the everyday conditions of racialization through the embodied labor of managing other people's trash. [waste, labor, race, Bulgaria] Atención antropológica reciente a la vida más que humana ha desatendido la importancia de raza y racialización en las respuestas al cambio ambiental. Basado en trabajo de campo etnográfico con las instituciones de manejo de residuos y trabajadores Romaníes de residuos en la Bulgaria urbana, este artículo invoca el concepto del Antropoceno racializado para desestabilizar la blancura no marcada sobre la cual el giro a humanos como una especie –antropos– se funda. Habituación es central tanto para la política de residuos de la UE como las estrategias generativas que los barrenderos Romaníes de las calles utilizan para manejar los residuos acumulados y las condiciones de su trabajo racializado. Llamo a estas estrategias creativas y cotidianas manejo antropocéntrico. El manejo antropogénico interrumpe el paradigma de resiliencia que ha llegado a ser lugar común en los análisis de cómo las personas responden a las circunstancias que no son de su propia creación. Como tal, hace el puente entre el Antropoceno, marcado por una acumulación de residuos a una escala planetaria, con las condiciones de cada día de racialización a través del trabajo corporeizado de manejar los residuos de otras personas. [residuos, trabajo, raza, Bulgaria] Антропологично внимание към по‐голям от човешкия живот пренебрегна значението на расата и расиализацията в реакциите на хората към промените в околната среда. Базирано на етнографска работа в България с институции за управление на отпадъците и Ромски работници, заети в този процес, тази статия обръща внимание към концепцията за расовия антропоцен, за да може да разклати неотбелязваната белота, на която стъпва гледането към човека като биологичен вид – антропоса. Привикването е централна характеристика e както за политиките за управление на отпадъци на ЕС, така и за стратегиите, които ромските работници, заети в метене на улиците, използват, за да се справят с натрупания боклук и условията на расово маркирания им труд. Наричам тези творчески и всекидневни стратегии антропогенно управление. Антропогенното управление нарушава парадигмата на устойчивост, която е станала честа практика при анализите за това как хората реагират на независими от тях обстоятелства. Така свързва антропоцена, маркиран от натрупването на отпадъци в планетарен мащаб с всекидневните условия на расово маркирания физически труд по управление на човешките отпадъци. [отпадъци, труд, раса, България]
Drawing on an ecological approach, we trace how the political-economy of drug wars are locally materialised in relation to health. We take the case of coca cultivation and eradication as our example. To make our analysis, we trace the different ways that the chemical glyphosate is materialised in a war with the coca plant in Colombia. Glyphosate has been used for decades in aerial fumigation campaigns to eradicate illicit coca cultivation. Our analysis traces the more-than-human effects of glyphosate in relation to health. This leads us to outline a more-than-human approach to harm reduction; a harm reduction which positions health as a matter of ecology, paying attention not only to the nonhuman actors affecting human health but also to the health of environments which are themselves always in-the-making. We envisage harm reduction as a collaboration in which humans ‘become-with’ their environments.
In Madrid, as in many European cities, air pollution is known about and made accountable through techno-scientific monitoring processes based on data, and the toxicity of the air is defined through epidemiological studies and made political through policy. In 2009, Madrid’s City Council changed the location of its air quality monitoring stations without notice, reducing the average pollution of the city and therefore provoking a public scandal. This scandal challenged the monitoring process, as the data that used to be the evidence of pollution could not be relied on anymore. To identify the characteristics of some of the diverse forms of public’s participation that emerged, I route theories of environmental sensing from STS and feminist theory through the notion of attuned sensing. Reading environmental sensing through processes of attunement expands the ways in which toxicity can be sensed outside of quantitative data. This mode of sensing recognizes how the different spontaneous attunements to and with air pollution and the scandal acknowledged Madrid’s chemical infrastructure, rendering visible qualitative conditions of toxicity. This mode of sensing politicized the toxicity of the air not through management or policy making, nor only through established forms environmental activism, but through contagion and accumulation of the different forms of public participation. All together, they made air pollution a matter of public concern. They also redistributed the actors, practices and objects that make the toxicity not only knowable, but also accountable, and most importantly, they opened up spaces for citizen intervention.
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El marco teórico de las Epistemologías del Sur fue propuesto por Boaventura de Sousa Santos como una vía para reconocer la diversidad de formas de entender el mundo y dar sentido a la existencia por parte de diferentes habitantes del planeta. Trabajando sobre este marco el presente artículo describe el concepto de ontologías relacionales, ilustrando otro tipo de herramientas teóricas para quienes ya no quieren ser cómplices del silenciamiento de los saberes y experiencias populares por parte de la globalización eurocéntrica. Frente a la idea monolítica de «Mundo» o «Universo», este texto plantea la transición hacia la inspiración zapatista de «Mundos donde quepan muchos mundos» o «Pluriverso». El texto se ilustra sobre algunos ejemplos de reacciones indígenas hacia la extracción minera, que no solo implican ocupación física sino también ocupación ontológica de los territorios. El artículo realiza a su vez el planteamiento de que los saberes derivados a través de las Epistemologías del Sur ofrecen mayor profundidad que los saberes hasta ahora surgidos en el ámbito académico en el contexto de la transformación social.
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How do people keep alive in the midst of a war in which they are not combatants? What do they do to survive the violence that befalls them continuously? How do they settle in a place where their lives can be extinguished at any time by armed groups? These are the questions that motivated the research in this article. This text describes and analyzes two practices that a population group in Putumayo (South of Colombia), settled in the municipality of Puerto Guzman, carried out to survive the armed conflict. ¿Cómo hacen las personas para mantenerse vivas en medio de una guerra en la que no son combatientes? ¿Qué hacen para sobrevivir a la violencia que recae sobre ellas continuamente? Cómo hacen para arraigarse en un lugar donde sus vidas pueden extinguirse en cualquier momento, en manos de distintos grupos armados? Estas son las preguntas que motivaron la investigación que soporta este artículo. En este texto se describen y analizan dos prácticas que un grupo poblacional en Putumayo (sur de Colombia), asentado en el municipio de Puerto Guzmán, lleva a cabo para sobrevivir al conflicto armado.
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En esta obra, María Clemencia Ramírez, antropóloga colombiana busca mostrar la trayectoria organizativa de los campesinos colombianos del Putumayo que participaron en las marchas de protesta contra la política antidrogas del estado colombiano y de los Estados Unidos, y reivindicar sus derechos como ciudadanos de esa región. El análisis del movimiento campesino se hizo con base en trabajo de campo y la revisión de documentos fruto de la negociación, notas periodísticas y entrevistas a funcionarios públicos y campesinos.
In this article, I argue that the Zora Neale Hurston’s early twentieth-century anthropological work and the Combahee River Collective’s 1977 Black Feminist Statement can be read as part of a genealogy of Black feminist empiricism: a minor empiricism that rejects positivist empiricism, strategically mobilizing dominant scientific practices while also developing an onto-espistemology specific to Black English and what Combahee terms “black women’s style.” Their works make tactical use of positivist empirics to critique and counter legal and medico-scientific circumscription of Black women’s lives, while simultaneously participating in this counter-practice of Black feminist empiricism. As both Combahee’s statement and Hurston’s first ethnography, Mules and Men (1935), reveal, Black feminist empiricism is grounded not in traditional scientific virtues such as transparency and objectivity, but instead in opacity and subjectivity, which make it unavailable for use for purposes of legal subjection, while simultaneously revealing the raced and gendered implications of a legal system dependent on positivist values.
In this powerful, compassionate work, one of anthropology's most distinguished ethnographers weaves together rich fieldwork with a compelling critical analysis in a book that will surely make a signal contribution to contemporary thinking about violence and how it affects everyday life. Veena Das examines case studies including the extreme violence of the Partition of India in 1947 and the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In a major departure from much anthropological inquiry, Das asks how this violence has entered "the recesses of the ordinary" instead of viewing it as an interruption of life to which we simply bear witness. Das engages with anthropological work on collective violence, rumor, sectarian conflict, new kinship, and state and bureaucracy as she embarks on a wide-ranging exploration of the relations among violence, gender, and subjectivity. Weaving anthropological and philosophical reflections on the ordinary into her analysis, Das points toward a new way of interpreting violence in societies and cultures around the globe. The book will be indispensable reading across disciplinary boundaries as we strive to better understand violence, especially as it is perpetrated against women.
This dissertation is concerned with a road in the Colombian region of Putumayo. The history of this road spans from the mid nineteenth century up to the present, and encompasses a wide range of characters and events, from nineteenth and twentieth century statesmen and missionaries’ ambitious colonization projects to ongoing peasant land conflicts regarding the road’s future. Together, these characters and events could be conceived or read as many different fragments and voices, past and present, of the same story. My main aim, however, is not to assemble these voices and fragments into a single narrative of the road, as much as to place them in the broader historical geography of state and frontier. I focus primarily on the multiple dialectical entanglements, conflicts, and encounters through which the state and the frontier have been discursively and materially constructed in this specific region. In doing so, I will argue that this historical geography of state and frontier has been primarily shaped by a relation of “inclusive exclusion”, or a relation where the assimilation or incorporation of the frontier to the spatial and political order of the state has historically depended on its exclusion from the imaginary order of the nation. Through a historical and ethnographical approach to the road, I emphasize the rhetorical and physical violence embedded in this relation, as well as the everyday practices through which this relation has been challenged and subverted in time and through space.
How is life in a criminalized ecology in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of south- western Colombia? In what way does antinarcotics policy that aims to eradicate la mata que mata (the plant that kills) pursue peace through poison? Relatedly, how do people keep on cultivating a garden, caring for forest, or growing food when at any moment a crop-duster plane may pass overhead, indiscriminately spraying herbicides over entire landscapes? Since 2000, the U.S.-Colombian War on Drugs has relied on the militarized aerial fumigation of coca plants, coupled with alternative development interventions that aim to forcibly eradicate illicit livelihoods. Through ethnographic engagement with small farmers in the frontier department of Putumayo, the gateway to the country's Amazon and a region that has been the focus of counternarcotic operations, this article explores the different possibilities and foreclosures for life and death that emerge in a tropical forest ecology under military duress. By following farmers, their material practices, and their life philosophies, I trace the ways in which human-soil relations come to potentiate forms of resistance to the violence and criminalization produced by militarized, growth-oriented development. Rather than productivity-one of the central elements of modern capitalist growth- the regenerative capacity of these ecologies relies on organic decay, impermanence, decomposition, and even fragility that complicates modernist bifurcations of living and dying, allowing, I argue, for ecological imaginaries and life processes that do not rely on productivity or growth to strive into existence.
Michelle Murphy explores the possible molecularization of life involved in biomonitoring, questioning the individualization of risks that follow efforts to detail synthetic chemicals inside individual bodies. Molecularization of life is defined as the emergence of technoscientific practices that refocus health and life at a molecular register, thereby populating life with new molecular-scale entities, processes, and relationships. It is more appropriate to discuss the historical emergence of chemical regime of living when it comes to questions of pollution. Biomonitoring has the potential to lead social change, but it also has the potential to further privatize risk and lead to boutique medicine for the privileged.
Guerrilla Auditors is an ethnographic account of the rise of information, transparency, and good governance in the post-Cold War era, and the effects of these concepts on Paraguay's transition to democracy. Kregg Hetherington shows that the ideal of transparent information, meant to depoliticize bureaucratic procedures, has become a battleground for a new kind of politics centered on legal interpretation and the manipulation of official documents. In late-twentieth-century Paraguay, peasant land politics moved unexpectedly from the roads and fields into the documentary recesses of state bureaucracy. When peasants, bureaucrats, and development experts encountered one another in state archives, conflicts ensued about how bureaucracy ought to function, what documents are for, and who gets to narrate the past and the future of the nation. Hetherington argues that Paraguay's neoliberal democracy is predicated, at least in part, on an exclusionary distinction between model citizens and peasants. Despite this, peasant activists have found ways to circumvent their exclusion and in so doing question the conceptual foundations of international development orthodoxy.
In the mid-1990s Argentine human rights (HR) activists faced a daunting task: achieving some measure of justice for the crimes committed during the last civico-military dictatorship (1976–1983). Their struggles gave birth to the escrache – a rebellious demonstration that targets the perpetrators of HR crimes, denounces their deeds and exorcizes them from the social body. Three kinds of justice are braided together in this practice: social justice, historical justice and a demand for judicial accountability. Through an ethnographic exploration of the practice the paper offers an analysis of these three kinds of justice and the changes they underwent in the past two decades. By offering a grounded analysis of justice in the pre- and the post-transitional justice phases in Argentina the paper contributes to ongoing debates about the meaning of justice and the possibility of reconciliation in post-conflict situations.
How much of philosophical, scientific, and political thought is caught up with the idea of continuity? What if it were otherwise? This paper experiments with the disruption of continuity. The reader is invited to participate in a performance of spacetime (re)configurings that are more akin to how electrons experience the world than any journey narrated though rhetorical forms that presume actors move along trajectories across a stage of spacetime (often called history). The electron is here invoked as our host, an interesting body to inhabit (not in order to inspire contemplation of flat-footed analogies between ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ worlds, concepts that already presume a given spatial scale), but a way of thinking with and through dis/continuity – a dis/orienting experience of the dis/jointedness of time and space, entanglements of here and there, now and then, that is, a ghostly sense of dis/continuity, a quantum dis/continuity. There is no overarching sense of temporality, of continuity, in place. Each scene diffracts various temporalities within and across the field of spacetimemattering. Scenes never rest, but are reconfigured within, dispersed across, and threaded through one another. The hope is that what comes across in this dis/jointed movement is a felt sense of différance, of intra-activity, of agential separability – differentiatings that cut together/apart – that is the hauntological nature of quantum entanglements.
This article begins by defining the specificity of critical anthropological thought and the way it can articulate with radical politics. It shows how the anthropology of Eduardo Vivieros de Castro offers a paradigmatic example of an anthropology that is both critical and radical, highlighting both the critical and political nature of Viveiros de Castro’s perspectivism and his concept of multinaturalism. It shows how this concept can offer a political and critical perspective that forms a basis for the unification of the concerns of both ‘primitivist’ and ‘modernist’ anthropology.
This essay examines how prognosis serves as a representational space for people living with and dying of cancer. It argues that as one of a series of means by which an elusive disease is made material, the prognosis also holds fantasies about the future, the past, and counterfactual futures and pasts.
The urban destruction captured by black and white photos of London after the Blitz or bomb-damaged Berlin are emblematic of the desolation brought by modern warfare. Eyal Weizman, Paulo Tavares, Susan Schuppli and Situ Studio describe, though, how the built environment now represents more than a means of violation in conflict, as it has become an important source of evidence bearing witness to the event when international justice is sought. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Based on an analysis of an ongoing scientific-political controversy over the toxicity of a fish-killing microorganism, this paper explores the relationship between responsibility and nonhuman contributions to agency in experimental practices. Research into the insidious effects of the dinoflagellates Pfiesteria piscicida (the fish killer) that thrive in waters over-enriched with nutrients, has received considerable attention by both the media and government agencies concerned with public and environmental health. After nearly two decades of research, the question of whether Pfiesteria can be regarded the 'causative agent' of massive fish kills in the estuaries of the US mid-Atlantic could not be scientifically settled. In contrast to policymakers, who attribute the absence of a scientific consensus to gaps in scientific knowledge and uncertainties regarding the identity and behavior of the potentially toxic dinoflagellates, I propose that an inseparable entanglement of Pfiesteria's identities and their toxic activities challenges conventional notions of causality that seek to establish a connection between independent events in linear time. Building on Karen Barad's framework of agential realism, I argue for a move from epistemological uncertainties to ontological indeterminacies that follow from Pfiesteria's contributions to agency, as the condition for responsible and objective science. In tracking discrepant experimental enactments of Pfiesteria that have been mobilized as evidence for and against their toxicity, I investigate how criteria for what counts as evidence get built into the experimental apparatuses and suggest that the joint possibilities of causality and responsibility vary with the temporalities of the objects enacted. This discussion seeks to highlight a thorough entanglement of epistemic/ontological concerns with the ecological/political relevance of particular experiments. Finally, I introduce a new kind of scientific object that--borrowing from Derrida--I call phantomatic. Phantoms don't emerge as such, but appear as traces and are associated with specific matters of concern.
‘Tenemos el pueblo dentro de la finca’: Itarca y la formación de un pueblo en la frontera entre el Putumayo y el Caquetá
  • A Cancimancel
Extravismo, negociaciones y paz
  • Viva Censat Agua
Worlding justice/commoning matter
  • D Papadopoulos
Supongamos la paz con la naturaleza
  • G Wilches-Chaux
Dispersar el Poder: Los Movimientos Como Poderes Antiestatales
  • R Zibechi
Derechos de la Naturaleza y Políticas Ambientales
  • E Gudynas
A Desordenar! Por una Historia Abierta de la Lucha Social
  • Aguilar R Gutiérrez
¿Cómo sería una paz territorial? Iniciativas de justicia socioecológica en el Sur
  • K Lyons
Escape Routes: Control and Subversion in the 21st Century
  • D Papadopoulos
  • N Stephenson
  • V Tsianos
Capitalist Sorcery: Breaking the Spell
  • I Stengers
  • P Pignarre
La naturaleza víctima de la Fundación Natura y USAID
  • Asoquimbo
Dancing on Our Turtle’s Backs: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creations, Resurgence and a New Emergence
  • L B Simpson
R (1999) Fumigación y Conflicto. Políticas Antidrogas y Deslegitimación del Estado en Colombia
  • Vargas Meza
Vulnerability in Resistance
  • J Butler
  • Z Gambetti
  • L Sabsay
Agenda Ambiental: Departamento de Putumayo
  • Corpoamazonia
What does an ordinary ethics look like?
  • V Das
  • Fortun K
Distributed reproduction, chemical violence, and latency
  • M Murphy
  • Nelson DM
Aerial spraying and alternative development in plan Colombia: Two sides of the same coin or two contested policies?
  • M C Ramírez
The ‘commodities consensus’ and valuation languages in Latin America
  • M Svampa
Advocacy after Bhopal: Environmentalism, Disaster and New Global Orders
  • K Fortun
  • Butler J
Sentipensar con la Tierra
  • A Escobar
Putumayo en el post-acuerdo: Las preguntas y los retos
  • J Barbosa
  • A Ciro
Sexto Boletín de Alertas Tempranas por Deforestación (AT-D)
  • Ideam
  • Tsing AL