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Fueling Social Inclusion? Neo-Extractivism, State-Society Relations & Biofuel Policies in Latin America’s Southern Cone

Thursday, November 16, 2017
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Ellis Hall
Room: 327
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Speaker: Dr. Diana Córdoba, SSHRC PDF, Univ of Victoria

Scholarship on neo-extractivism agrees that this ‘post-neoliberal’ model relies on an inherent contradiction between the commitment to continue natural resource extraction and the need to legitimize these activities by using their revenues for poverty reduction. Using the cases of the national biofuel policies of the ‘postneoliberal’ governments of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, this presentation asks why and how these policies emerged and were implemented and how these can help us to explain the inherent contradictions embedded in neoextractivist policies. Adopting a strategic-relational approach to analyse state-society interaction, I argue that the scope of progressive policies is largely conditioned by pre-existing social structures and institutions and state-society interaction. In this talk, I show how progressive reforms intersect with the prevailing interests of agribusiness and state actors and are recast and used for different ends as these interact with powerful actors such as the multinational soybean complex and agrarian movements. I conclude that the prevailing overemphasis on the politics of domination and contestation in the debates on neo-extractivism overlooks the multiple and complex rural responses of the different progressive governments and obscure the possibilities to explore the ruptures and continuities of these governments with previous models, and therefore fail to recognize state’s advances.

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